It was disheartening to read that the average salary of a civil engineer is only £29,000. The average salary of a refuse collector in the London Borough of Waltham Forest is £26,500 and I expect that similiar salaries are paid in other London boroughs. When one considers that refuse collectors need few qualifications and can begin work at 16, whereas degree qualified civil engineers begin work at 22 and will also incur substantial university debts, it becomes obvious that from a financial point of view it is as advisable to enter refuse collection as civil engineering. This probably explains the difficulty that the profession has in attracting and retaining excellent graduates.
Natalie Dillon, Arup Associates, Boston House, 37 Fitzroy Square
London W1P 6AA