How much is a UK graduate engineer’s salary in 2018?

The Engineer’s Salary Survey has found that graduate/junior engineers earn, on average, £30,557 per year in 2018; compared to an average of £47,972 for senior engineers/managers and £72,072 for engineering directors or above.

Average engineering salary by seniority*

Graduate/junior engineer £30,557
Senior engineer/manager £47,972
Director or above £72,072

*All data from The Engineer Salary Survey 2018. 

As in 2017, junior engineers in the chemicals, pharmaceuticals and medical industry had the highest average salaries in 2018, at £36,838. This is once again over £10,000 more than the average salary for junior engineers in the telecoms, electronics and utilities industry, who took home £25,958 in 2018.

Average graduate/junior engineer salary by UK engineering sector*

Chemicals & Pharma/Medical £36,838
Aerospace £32,920
Oil & Gas £32,846
Materials £32,739
Energy/Renewables/Nuclear £32,581
Automotive £32,163
Rail/Civil & Structural £29,194
Defence & Security/Marine £29,158
Academia £28,818
None of these £28,446
Food & Drink/Consumer Goods £27,802
Telecoms & Utilities/Electronics £25,958

*All data from The Engineer Salary Survey 2018. 

Routes into the engineering industry
When it comes to choosing their route into the profession, engineers are remarkably consistent.

Just as in the previous two years, half of all engineers surveyed have a degree. Meanwhile, 38.9 per cent of engineers entered industry through an apprenticeship scheme, a very similar figure to last year (38.5 per cent).

What’s more, like 2017 the percentage of engineers having chosen the apprenticeship route continues to rise with age. Just 26.1 per cent of under-thirties, 21.9 per cent of those in their thirties, and 29.6 per cent of those in their forties have undertaken an apprenticeship, while 50.2 per cent of those in their fifties and 59.1 per cent of those in their sixties have taken this route.

% qualified by apprenticeships by sector*

Aerospace 46.10%
Food & Drink/Consumer Goods 44.40%
Chemicals & Pharma/Medical 42.60%
Oil & Gas 40.80%
Defence & Security/Marine 40.80%
Automotive 39.20%
Academia 35.30%
Energy/Renewables/Nuclear 32.90%
Materials 32%
Rail/Civil & Structural 29.80%
Telecoms & Utilities/Electronics 28%

*All data from The Engineer Salary Survey 2018. 

The reverse is true for engineers choosing the university route, with 56.1 per cent of under-thirties, 52.9 per cent of those in their thirties, and 56.9 per cent of those in their forties having been awarded a degree, dipping to 45.6 per cent of those in their fifties and 40.2 per cent of those in their sixties. There is also a significant gender imbalance, with 40.9 per cent of men having chosen to undertake an apprenticeship scheme, compared with just 10.7 per cent of women. In contrast, 62.1 per cent of women surveyed have a degree, compared with 49.2 per cent of men.

Among the sectors, the aerospace industry has the highest percentage of engineers who have pursued an apprenticeship (46.1 per cent), followed by the consumer goods and food and drink sector (44.4 per cent) and the chemical, pharmaceutical and medical sector (42.6 per cent).

% qualified by degrees by sector*

Energy/Renewables/Nuclear 57.80%
Academia 52.90%
Telecoms & Utilities/Electronics 51.80%
Rail/Civil & Structural 51.60%
Defence & Security/Marine 51.20%
Automotive 49.50%
Chemicals & Pharma/Medical 49.50%
Aerospace 49%
Food & Drink/Consumer Goods 48.90%
Oil & Gas 46.60%
Materials 33%

*All data from The Engineer Salary Survey 2018. 

The lowest percentage of engineers with an apprenticeship can be found in the telecoms, electronics and utilities sector (28 per cent).

Like the previous two surveys, the energy, renewables and nuclear industry has the highest percentage of graduates, with 57.8 per cent of engineers in this sector having a degree.

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.