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Civils offers lowest graduate engineer salaries

Civil engineering offers the lowest salaries to graduates of engineering degrees, according to The Times Good University Guide 2015.

However, students graduating from engineering courses are still likely to be among the highest graduate earners. Only dentistry was higher than the best paid engineering profession, chemical engineering.

Six of the top 10 highest graduate starting salaries are engineering disciplines.

Average graduate starting pay for the engineering disciplines, in order of salary, are:

  • Chemical engineering, £29,582
  • General engineering, £26,362
  • Mechanical engineering, £26,076
  • Aeronautical and manufacturing engineering, £25,343
  • Electrical and electronic engineering, £24,639
  • Civil engineering, £24,524.

Top of the pile is dentistry with an average starting salary of £30,395.

Law came only 47 out of the 66 courses with a starting salary of £19,598.

Bottom of the list was Creative Writing at £16,903.

The average overall starting salary is £21,982.

IET chief executive, Nigel Fine, said: “It’s very encouraging to see that graduates beginning their engineering careers are starting on such good salaries. 

“There has never been a better time to be an engineer: demand that far outstrips supply, competitive graduate salaries and fantastic career prospects are typical characteristics of the engineering profession today.”

The IET’s 2014 annual Engineering and Technology: Skills & Demand in Industry report found that 51% of employers were recruiting engineering staff this year and 59% of companies indicated concerns that a shortage of engineers would be a threat to their businesses.

Readers' comments (6)

  • Have these figures been adjusted to remove the overly high figures created by adding in London weighted salaries? I don't know of any fresh graduates who are on a salary anywhere near this. If I did, you can bet that company would be massively oversubscribed by potential staff, both at graduate level and above!

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  • Even on the contracting side of engineering, the starting salary is nowhere near that £24k. I feel sorry for the consultants.

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  • Starting salary for a Graduate in London Financial District is £45k+£5k(bonus) = £50k. For a civil engineer it is going to take 20 years to get it. It shows how far behind civil engineers pay is in this country.

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  • But think of the fun it is being a civil engineer.

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  • “It’s very encouraging to see that graduates beginning their engineering careers are starting on such good salaries. "

    Are these salaries really supposed to encourage me? More reason for me to consider leaving this profession.

    “There has never been a better time to be an engineer: demand that far outstrips supply, competitive graduate salaries and fantastic career prospects are typical characteristics of the engineering profession today.”

    Also not very believable since I spent the last 12 months applying for a job, eventually got one after applying to over 50 companies. Many of my Masters colleagues have not found a job or are finding it very difficult to find a job.

    Electrical engineering is different to civil so if our salaries are the lowest, then the demand for civil engineers cannot be that high, as the market has dictated that we have very low worth.

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  • What we have to ask ourselves is what the client is prepared to pay for our services and this seems to be me to be not a lot. Why; are our services not seen as valuable?

    The average graduate salary is said to be £21,000, then if we consider there are 2,000 working hours in a year, which would equate to £10.50 per hour, now if this is doubled to cover company expenses and overheads this would give a charge rate of something in the region of £20 to £25 per hour. Sounds about the going rate for a graduate engineer? Now if we reverse my simplistic assumptions for say a £50,000 salary this would equate to a client charge rate of £50 to £55 per hour. Sounds about the going rate for an engineer with around 15 years of experience?

    They say that franchised car mechanics charge on average around £75 per hour. At a guess there are not many civil engineering clients prepared to pay that kind of rate, if so begrudgingly. Our charge rates appear to have been squeezed in the last few years. Are we pandering to these clients by using ‘low cost bases’ in India for example further increasing the issue? There are not many professions out there which would have allowed this to happen. Do clients need re-educating? Are they looking at the capital costs of the concrete only and seeing the design and professional services component as a necessary evil with not much value?

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