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Graduate jobs for aerospace engineers

Aerospace/aeronautical engineering graduate jobs

Lots of employers in the UK offer engineering graduate schemes, including international aerospace companies such as Airbus, Bombardier, Leonardo and Rolls-Royce. You will tend to apply to an overall engineering graduate scheme, rather than a scheme labelled as 'aerospace engineering'.

Aerospace engineering graduates are also recruited for other roles too, so you’ll have plenty of options. All of the vacancies listed on this page accept aerospace engineering students but other jobs often list aerospace as one of the disciplines sought, and they include:

  • design engineer
  • maintenance engineer
  • materials engineer
  • support engineer
  • systems engineer
  • quality engineer
  • mechanical engineer

Working for a huge engineering company isn’t your only option though; small and medium-sized enterprises make up a large proportion of the engineering industry in the UK and they also need graduates! They don’t usually need to recruit a set number of engineers annually, though, so they tend to advertise as and when a job vacancy comes up. Read our advice on how to find jobs with small engineering firms.

Your university careers service, lecturers and placement officers may have close connections with employers in the local area, so they may be able to help you too.

What industries can aerospace engineers work in?

A career in the aerospace industry is the most obvious step for those with an aerospace engineering degree. According to ADS Group’s Aerospace Outlook Report 2019, the UK aerospace industry employs 111,000 people. To find out more about the aerospace industry, including recent trends and developments and how to get into this area, read our industry overview written by an engineer at Rolls-Royce.

However, if you’d like to use your degree outside of aerospace, plenty of other industries seek aerospace engineering graduates, including:

You can find out more about these sectors by reading our industry overviews, all written by experienced engineers who work in these fields. Just click on the ones that interest you.

Becoming professionally registered

As a graduate engineer, you can start your journey to professional registration, which is when you become an incorporated engineer (IEng) or chartered engineer (CEng). Many of the big engineering employers want their graduates to work towards chartered status, as the highest level of qualification you can achieve.

If you’re working in the aerospace engineering industry, it’s very likely that you’ll join the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) to achieve professional registration with them. If you go into a different industry, you may well join a different professional engineering institution; the Engineering Council currently licenses 39 institutions to assess candidates for inclusion on the national register of professional engineers and technicians.

To find out more about becoming professionally registered, have a read of our article ‘Becoming a chartered or incorporated engineer after starting a graduate job’.

Aerospace engineering salaries

ADS Group’s Aerospace Outlook Report 2019 states that the average salary in the UK aerospace industry is £43,000. This is based on the salaries of employees in various job functions, including sales/business development, human resources, consultancy, production and assembly, and research, design and engineering.

As a graduate engineer in the aerospace industry, you’re likely to earn between £22,000 and £30,000. Some employers may pay a bit more than this, while some smaller employers may pay a bit less. The Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey for the 2016/17 academic year found that the mean starting salary for engineering and technology graduates was £26,173 six months after graduating. This figure covers graduates working in engineering and those who moved into other fields.

Find out more about engineering graduate salaries – and what you might earn as an incorporated or chartered engineer – with our engineering salary round-up.

What other careers can I go into with an aerospace engineering degree?

If you’ve changed your mind and aren’t sure whether you want to become an engineer, don’t panic. Aerospace engineering graduates are considered to be employable in a number of industries, including: