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If you thought going to university was a waste of money, then think again; graduates, on average, earn £12,000 a year more than non-graduates. For engineers the job market looks good, with a large number of the workforce set to retire within the next ten years, graduates will be wanted now to help fill in these future gaps.

Entry level salaries

Starting salaries for engineers are very competitive; research suggests that these can be between £22,000 and £25,000 (Source: Education and Skills Survey 2011; HESA, 2009/10). However, there are substantial differences between different engineering sectors. According to SEMTA, the highest earners were those working in a general engineering role, who were taking home around £29,361. Those with a degree in chemical, process and energy engineering had an average starting salary of £26,712 and the lowest salaries were those working in production or manufacturing engineering at £22,584.

These differences reflect the profitability of different engineering sectors. Industries such as oil and pharmaceuticals are doing well, whilst manufacturing industries are suffering due to the economic downturn. Even taking the current economic situation into account, engineers fare much better than other professions due to the technical expertise they have. The job market can only get better with the demand for skilled workers increasing manifold.

Salary progression

Unsurprisingly, an engineer at a managerial level commands a higher salary in comparison to an engineer in non-management role. Engineering salaries are generally rising in line with salaries in other sectors but are approximately as follows:

  • Once qualified, you can expect to earn £28-£36,000.
  • A senior engineer can earn £33-44,000.
  • Engineering managers can earn £37-£55,000.

(Source: Incomes Data Service, 2010)

Regional and sub-sector differences

Across all occupations, the highest salaries in the UK are typically found in London and the South East, reflecting the higher cost of living in these regional areas. However, of all the engineering managerial roles, managers in mining and energy had the highest earnings of £68,595.

Of all the professional roles, electronics engineers, chemical engineers and electrical engineers earned comparable salaries, at £44,530, £44,450 and £44,151 respectively.
(Source: ASHE 2011 ONS)

Additional benefits

Employee benefits in engineering are in line with most other sectors. If you work for a large company you could expect benefits such as private health insurance, bonuses, employer pension contributions, healthcare, training, flexi-time and profit shares. Furthermore, if a company is publicly listed you may be offered stock options.

It has also been known for an employee to receive discounts on the products the company produces. For example, a large car manufacturing company may give you discounts on the vehicles or provide a company car.

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