The Professional Engineer - Promoting professional engineering

blank cheque


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. Average starting salary in 2018/19 was £25,607 compared to an all graduate average of £21,719. The gender average pay gap has fallen to 1.7% with women graduate salaries ahead on electronic and electrical engineering.

Salaries by industry sector

Combined average annual earnings across engineering in their 2017 and 2019 Surveys for Chartered /non-chartered engineers salaries taken together are listed below.
(Source: The Engineer Table 9.11)

2017 2019
Oil and gas
Defence/Security/Marine 46,838 50,206
Telecoms/Electronics 46,567 51,825
Food and Drink 46,460 52,877
Aerospace 46,362 50,284
Rail/Civil and Structural 44,890 46,369
Academic 43,809 43,830

The 2019 Survey  indicates that the Energy/Renewables/Nuclear industry has overtaken Oil and Gas in the UK as the highest earning engineering sector.

Engineering Salaries in Scotland (The Engineer)

Whilst generally lower, in several sectors average salaries within Scotland in 2019 are higher than in other UK regions namely:

Scotland UK
Oil and gas
Defence/Security/Marine 53,750 50,206
Material - may be a small samples

It also shows that engineering salary increases in recent years in most sectors are continuing to be higher than the UK rate of inflation meaning the salaries are continuing to rise in real terms.
Notably the average pay gap between men and women engineers has reduced from £13,000 in 2018 to £9,000 in 2019 which is to be welcomed.

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


Chartered Engineeers Salaries

Engineers whose experience has enabled them to achieve registered Chartered Engineer status (CEng) under the Engineering Council will be earning salaries significantly higher than the averages across engineering in the above table.

Since 2013 the Engineering Council has not undertaken a salary survey specific to Chartered Engineers however the results of their 2007-2013 survey below illustrates the much higher salaries that can be achieved with Chartered status (the highest level) compared to not being Chartered.

By illustration, in the 2013 survey, median basic earnings of Chartered Engineers and Incorporated Engineers were £60,000 and £45,000 respectively and this significant gap will have increased today as will be the even larger gap between Chartered and non-registered graduate engineers.

Not unexpectedly, more that 62% of engineers who have reached Director level are professionally registered.

There are significant numbers of Chartered Engineers working in Scotland in 2019 whose salaries are in excess of £200,000 with some significantly higher than that of the Chief Constable of Police Scotland.

The Engineering Council's Survey of Registered Engineers 2013 (from their most recent 2014 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 significantly since 2013).

Chartered Engineer Salaries (Engineering UK 2014, Tables 14.2,14.4)

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 this salary survey work not only in the UK but all over the world and the salary figures above reflect this.

Graduate Salaries

Graduate salary data from the Engineering UK 2018/19 survey confirmed once again that 5 of the top 10 graduate average salaries in the UK are in Professional Engineering based employment.

Mean average starting salaries for graduates show engineering and technology as the fourth 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 (Table 8.31).

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).

Salary Survey Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) 2018

Chemical Engineers are, on average, the highest paid in the UK engineering sector. The IChemE 2018 Salary Survey can be accessed here.  54% of those surveyed were Chartered Engineers and, for example, shows that the mean average salaries of engineers in the age groups 35-38 and 40-49 were £65,821 and £100,442.
Chartered Engineers will be earning above these average figures and approaching £120,000