The Professional Engineer - Promoting professional engineering

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Industry zone in Albergaria-a-Velha, Portugal

Professional Engineers are well paid - chartered engineer status is a solid foundation for a well remunerated career. Typically, the comparative salary levels of practising professional engineers (i.e., those not yet in management or company director positions) from the highest down are:

Current engineering graduate starting salaries are in the range £24,000 - £29,000 depending upon discipline and industry sector.

Starting salaries continue to rise as a result of demand growing and the supply of graduates declining fairly significantly.

Highest Salaries by Industry

The Engineering UK 2018 Report found that the highest paid areas of industry in descending order were  (See Report Table 9.11):

Salary Survey - Engineering Council

The Engineering Council's Survey of Registered Engineers 2013 (their most recent report) incorporates its latest salary survey of the Engineering Profession and identifies the following trends in Chartered Engineer (the highest professional engineering level) salaries. (Note the increases in recent years and that salaries will have increased since 2013 - see later notes in this Section).

There are significant numbers of Chartered Engineers working in Scotland in 2018 whose salaries are in excess of £200,000 with some significantly higher than that of the Chief Constable of Police Scotland.

Chartered Engineer Salaries

2007 2010 2013
Median Annual Basic Earnings
(Excluding overtime or bonuses)
(50% of basic earnings are above this figure and 50% are below)
48000 52609 60000
Median Annual Total Earnings 50000 55000 63000
Mean Total Annual Earnings
(the overall average earnings)
55870 67714 73297
Energy (including oil and gas)
Mean Annual Basic Earnings
------ 80000 92000

The 2013 Survey Overall Mean Basic Earnings data shows that;
50% earned above £60,000
14% earned above £100000

Note that the chartered engineers who replied to the salary survey work not only in the UK but all over the world and the salary figures above reflect this.

The following are the mean (average) basic incomes based on work location:

England Scotland Wales N Ireland Abroad
Mean Annual Basic Income 62960 65268 49218 44686 105914

Note that salaries for those located in Scotland were, in 2013, the highest in the UK. This reflects the influence of the North Sea oil and gas sector. However salaries will have been impacted as a result of the North Sea downturn in 2015-2017.

The Report confirms that the proportion of Chartered Engineers earning £50,000 or more in 2007 was 48% and had grown by 2013 to 50% earning more than £60,000.

In addition the Mean Total Earnings for Chartered Engineers rose on average 32% between the 2007 and 2013 salary surveys which is around twice the total level of economic inflation in the period (approx 2.5% per year) every year for the previous 6 years. This shows that Chartered Engineering salaries have very significantly outstripped inflation in recent years.

In the absence of an Engineering Council salary survey since 2013 reference to The Engineer magazine salary survey 2018 confirms that the rates of salary increase have slowed in some areas of the profession though tending to keep in line with inflation.Their figures, however are not exclusively from Chartered Engineers. Comparisons, therefore, whilst close, are not a direct match.

The Engineer Salary Survey also indicates some sector increases continue to exceed inflation in 2015/2016 including;
    Electronics up 14.4%
    Electrical up 3.5%

The survey also indicates Oil and Gas sector salaries are across the industry up 6% on average in the period 2016/2017 (See EngineeringUK Report Figure 9.5 page 233 and figures 9.11 and 9.12, page 241) showing some North Sea recovery with Scotland based average Oil and Gas salaries around 28% higher than the same sector in London

The 2013 Engineeering Council Survey confirms that of the near 6300 engineers who contributed, only 1% were unemployed. This compares very favourably with the UK national unemployment average of approximately 7% at present.

In addition, The Institution of Chemical Engineers website from its 2014 Salary Survey (see also below) lists Mean Average Basic Salaries for Chartered Engineers with 1st degrees as £70,000 and for the Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Sector as £74300

Salary Survey Engineering UK

The EngineeringUK 2018 Report has information about salaries starting at page 234 Table 13.1. Note that average salaries widely tabled in this survey are lower than those in the Engineering Council Survey figures above which are only for chartered engineers. This is because the EngineeringUK survey averages are mostly based upon Office of National Statistics data covering salaries from those at the start of their careers upwards whether registered or not with the Engineering Council.

The EngineeringUK Report has much other useful information about engineering as a career.

Graduate Salaries (EngineeringUK Report)

 Graduate salary data specially commissioned by IESIS  from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) survey of Summer 2014 confirmed once again that 5 of the top 10 graduate average salaries in the UK are in Professional Engineering based employment?

EngineeringUK research indicates that the mean (average) starting salaries for engineering and technology graduates are now 18% more than the mean for all graduates of £25,607. This is partly a result of a continuing skills shortage in the sector.

Mean average starting salaries for graduates show engineering and technology as the third highest group in the UK after Medicine, Dentistry and Vets.

Engineering and Technology graduate salaries are significantly above Maths, Architecture, Law and Physical and Biological Sciences.

Note that graduate starting salaries are on average almost 17.5% higher if engineering is your employer's main activity even in a non-engineering job (Figure 8.32).

It remains a fact that, generally, female graduate salaries lag male salaries though not in all disciplines, with the average difference being 1.7%. In 2015 the difference was 8.5% so the gap is closing significantly.

However, female graduate salaries were found to be marginally ahead of male salaries in Electronic and Electrical Engineering.

Salary Survey Institution of Chemical Engineers 2014

The Institution of Chemical Engineers provides “Salary Calculator” software which has been populated by the data obtained via their own members 2014 salary survey to enable Professional Chemical Engineers to review industry wide salary indicators that match their experience, employment sector and job responsibilities.

IESIS has an agreement with IChemE to allow access to this calculator from the Profeng website. The IChemE data provides a good indication of salary levels that can be found in Chemical Engineering.

For example the average Chemical Engineer (CEng)  basic salary for Oil and Gas Exploration was £74,300 and the average basic salary of a 50-54 year old Chemical Engineer in Oil Refining was £127,700

(You can search the Salary Calculator to confirm and to compare other chemical/process industry engineering salaries in which you may be interested)