Engineering is a lucrative and rewarding career. One survey of 1,350 engineers found that 90% would recommend the career path to young people. And a similar survey found that 87% were satisfied with their job.
Engineering is a varied and challenging role that offers plenty of opportunities for progression. It also happens to offer good job security and health earning potential. The overall average salary of a UK engineer is £48,000 per year, which is well above the UK average of £31,461.
In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the engineering sector to uncover the average salaries across a range of engineering sectors and learn more about how engineers can boost their earning potential.
What is an engineer?
Engineering is used more broadly than in other countries. In countries throughout Europe, an engineer is on par with a doctor. They undergo a similar level of training and command similar salaries.
In the UK, the term engineer is attached to a lot more roles, and it doesn’t always imply that the individual has PhD-level qualifications. It’s possible to get into the engineering profession as an apprentice and learn on the job.
In general, engineers are problem solvers. They look for ways to make things work, whether building infrastructure or making sure the interior of a building is wired correctly. It’s an incredibly broad term, which is why it isn’t easy to offer an average salary prediction.
Different types of engineers
There are many different types of engineering sectors to consider. These include:
- Electrical engineering
- Civil engineering
- Chemical engineering
- Mechanical engineering
- Aerospace engineering
- Agricultural engineering
- Biomedical engineering
- Computer and software engineering
- Environmental engineering
- Architectural engineering
- Automobile engineering
- Robotics engineering
- Mining engineering
- Marine engineering
- Nuclear engineering
- Structural engineering
Within each area of engineering, there are subdivisions of the role, making it an incredibly broad specialism to explore. The most common branches of engineering are civil engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and computer engineering. These are the subdivisions we will focus on for the sake of clarity.
Average engineering salaries
A civil engineer can earn around £23,000 in a graduate role, rising to around £26,500 after a few years of experience. The highest-paid engineers can earn over £80,000 per year. London weighting can also significantly boost earnings.
An electrical engineer can earn around £20,000 in a starting role, rising to around £28,000 with more experience. The highest salaries in the electrical engineering sector are around £60,000. The location of the role and the size of the employer will significantly influence the earning potential of an electrical engineer.
Mechanical engineers earn around £20,000-£28,000 in a graduate role. This can increase to around £35,000 with a few years of experience. The top-earning mechanical engineers can earn salaries over £60,000. Some sectors pay much more than this for talented mechanical engineers.
Computer engineers can earn around £18,000 in a graduate or entry-level role. With a few years of experience, this may increase to around £25,000 and up to £50,000. The highest level of earning potential as a computer engineer would be around £70,000. The biggest salaries can be found in the South East of England.
How to boost earnings as an engineer
There is one way that all engineers can increase their earning potential. Achieving chartered status is a common career step for many engineers. This step shows a higher level of professional achievement, which is reflected in the higher earning potential.
Achieving chartered status will also open up new job opportunities, as some employers will only hire chartered engineers for senior roles.
Another simple way to boost your earnings as an engineer is to work with a recruiter when looking for a new role. Experienced and talented engineers are in high demand, and a specialist recruiter like Nolan Recruitment can help to connect them with the best opportunities.
It also helps to have a recruiter negotiate salary and benefits, as it can be difficult for engineers to know their worth. Not many people talk about how much they earn with their colleagues, so it can be challenging to know if you earn more or less than those around you. When the time comes to look for a new job, it’s common for engineers to underestimate their worth.
And finally, being flexible about the location is another way to increase earning potential. Engineers that are willing to relocate for a role are more likely to command higher salaries. And relocating can also offer a host of benefits, including a housing allowance while you get settled and a signing bonus to help with moving costs. But, again, working with a recruitment agency can help you to unlock these opportunities.