Job descriptions and industry overviews

Maintenance engineer: job description

27 Feb 2024, 14:28

Maintenance engineers undertake scheduled and breakdown maintenance of engineering equipment.

A maintenance engineer at work wearing an orange hi-vis waistcoat and helmet.

Maintenance engineer : Graduate salaries | Employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Maintenance engineers ensure that industrial machinery and equipment runs smoothly and reliably. You may be called out to deal with a breakdown or inspect equipment as part of a maintenance schedule.

Typical duties include:

  • planning and carrying out scheduled maintenance.
  • responding to emergencies.
  • diagnosing faults.
  • repairing equipment and testing repairs.
  • supervising contractors, and engineering and technical staff.
  • ordering specialist components, fixtures or fittings.
  • creating maintenance procedures.
  • managing stocks of supplies and equipment.
  • keeping records of faults and repairs.

You may need to work shifts or be on call, particularly where manufacturing equipment is in continual operation. You’ll also need to travel to sites.

Career progression is often rapid; maintenance engineers have opportunities to move into managerial positions or related areas of employment such as plant/production engineering. In these roles, you’re likely to have responsibility for budgets, for supervision and scheduling of other staff, and for the health and safety of team members.

Graduate salaries

Salary survey websites suggest that starting salaries for maintenance engineers tend to be around £25,000. You could earn up to £45,000 with experience.

Typical employers of maintenance engineers

  • Manufacturing, construction and process companies (for example, food and drink manufacturers).
  • Utilities companies.
  • Local authorities.
  • Universities and educational institutions.

Self-employment via contract work is possible when you have several years' experience.

Jobs are advertised by recruitment agencies and directly by employers. You may also find vacancies on local jobs boards. For help with applying for engineering jobs and internships, read our engineering CV and covering letter tips and our advice on filling out online applications .

Qualifications and training required

There are routes into this career for both school leavers and university graduates. Graduates will need a degree in a relevant engineering discipline such as mechanical, manufacturing, electrical or electronic engineering. A list of accredited courses is available on the Engineering Council’s website. Some employers will ask for a 2.1 degree but others will accept candidates with a 2.2 degree. Take a look at our list of engineering employers that accept 2.2 degrees .

Achieving chartered (CEng) status with the Engineering Council can help to demonstrate your professionalism and commitment to your field. To become chartered, you will need an accredited bachelors degree in engineering or technology, plus an appropriate masters degree (MEng) or doctorate (EngD) accredited by a professional engineering institution such as the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). You will also be eligible with an integrated MSc. To find out more, head to our guide to chartership .

Some employers look for vocational qualifications such as NVQs and apprenticeships because of the many practical tasks involved in the job. Recruiters may look for specific vocational qualifications, (for example, a level 3 diploma in heating and ventilation). Maintenance engineering apprenticeships are available, involving work combined with study towards a qualification.

Key skills for maintenance engineers

  • An ability to work well under pressure.
  • Good verbal and written communication skills.
  • Excellent technical skills and knowledge.
  • Problem-solving skills.
  • Teamworking skills.

For more advice, see our article on the skills engineering employers look for and how you can demonstrate them at assessment centres .

targetjobs editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the targetjobs content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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