What are the highest-paid engineering jobs in the UK?

highest-paid engineering jobs uk

According to the Engineer Salary Survey 2018, engineers in the oil and gas sector are the highest paid in the UK, with an average salary of £53,913; followed by engineers in the energy, renewables and nuclear sector, who earn an average of £52,653.

  1. Oil and gas engineers – £53,913 (average salary for 2018)  
    Despite a renewed sense of confidence within the sector, average salaries for engineers in the oil and gas industry have dropped slightly this year, from £54,461 in 2017 to £53,913 in 2018. This could be partly attributed to a drop in the average pay of directors in the sector, who have seen their salaries decrease from £81,805 in 2017, to £66,795 this year, although this may be partly the result of a small sample size. The sector is still the highest paid overall, however, and boasts the highest-paid senior engineers and managers of any industry.
  2. Energy, renewables and nuclear engineers – £52,653
    Although the UK’s energy mix is changing, salaries in the sector remain relatively stable, at an average of £52,653 in 2018, up slightly from £51,953 in 2017. Just like the previous two surveys, the energy, renewables and nuclear industry remains the second-highest-paid sector, behind oil and gas.
  3. Chemicals, pharmaceuticals and medical engineers – £50,890 
    Pay growth in the sector has also gone into reverse this year, with chemical, pharmaceutical and medical engineers earning an average of £50,890 in 2018, compared with £51,750 in 2017. Nevertheless, the sector remains the third-highest-paid industry.
  4. Automotive engineers – £48,967
    The average salary of those responding to our survey from the sector in 2018 is £48,967, up marginally from 2017 (£48,100), and very close to the average for engineering overall. Both junior engineers and senior engineers and managers working in the automotive sector can also expect to earn salaries close to the overall average for engineers as a whole, at £32,162 and £48,908 respectively.
  5. Food, drink and consumer goods engineers – £48,155
    The average salary for engineers in the sector is £48,155 in 2018, up from £46,460 in 2017. Average salaries for junior engineers and graduates have also risen from last year, when they were the lowest of all the sectors, increasing from £24,954 in 2017 to £27,802 in 2018. Directors in the industry have also seen a considerable rise in salary, up from £67,980 in 2017 to £79,393 in 2018, although this may be partly the result of sample size. However, senior engineers and managers have seen their average salary drop from £48,626 in 2017 to £47,187
    this year.
  6. Defence, security and marine engineers – £47,968
    The average salary in the defence industry is £47,968, up from £46,838 in 2017. Much of this difference is down to an increase in the pay of senior engineers and managers, from £46,954 in 2017 to £47,438 in 2018. Directors in the sector, meanwhile, have seen their average pay drop from £80,853 to £79,857, and junior engineers’ pay has dropped from £30,929 to £29,157.
  7. Aerospace engineers – £47,752
    The average salary among aerospace engineers is £47,752, up slightly from £46,362 in 2017. Junior engineers in the sector earn an average of £32,920, up from £29,581 in 2017. Among directors, salaries in the sector have remained relatively static compared to those of last year, with an average of £67,511 in 2018, compared with £67,538 in 2017. Senior engineers and managers, however, have seen their average earnings increase from £48,658 in 2017 to £50,014 in 2018.
  8. Materials engineers – £47,130
    The average salary in the sector is £47,130. This is down slightly from £48,318 in 2017, although it is still considerably higher than the average of £39,494 in 2016, suggesting the relatively small sample size may be a factor in causing the figure to fluctuate somewhat between years.
  9. Rail, civil and structural engineers – £45,871
    The average salary for engineers in rail, civil and structural is £45,871, the third-lowest sector after telecoms, electronics and utilities and academia, although a slight increase on last year’s average of £44,890. 
  10. Academic engineers – £44,774
    On average, engineers in the sector are earning £44,774, up from £43,809 in 2017 and taking academia off the bottom slot and above the telecoms, electronics and utilities sector.
  11. Telecoms, utilities and electronics engineers – £44,504
    The average salary in the sector is £44,504, down from £46,567 in 2017. More than a quarter (27.3 per cent) of engineers in the sector are based in London and the South East, closely followed by those in the Midlands and East Anglia (20.8 per cent). Electronics engineers working overseas command the highest wages, with an average salary of £49,301, followed by those based in the Midlands, on £47,307. Engineers in Scotland are earning the lowest wages, on £37,250.

Average salary by UK engineering sector*

Oil and Gas £53,913
Energy/Renewables/Nuclear £52,653
Chemicals and Pharma/Medical £50,890
Automotive £48,967
Food and Drink/Consumer Goods £48,155
Defence and Security/Marine £47,968
Aerospace £47,752
Materials £47,130
Rail/Civil and Structural £45,871
Academia £44,774
None of these £44,563
Telecoms and Utilities/Electronics £44,504

*All data from The Engineer Salary Survey 2018. 

The Engineer’s 2018 Salary Survey was conducted in partnership with technical recruitment consultancy CBSbutler

Click here for the full results of the Salary Survey. 

Click here for The Engineer’s Salary Calculator.