Engineering salary trumps other UK professions

Posted on 16 Nov 2016 by Jonny Williamson

Pay for professional engineers has increased by 2% year-on-year, while engineering graduates can expect to pocket 4% a year more compared to 2015, according to the latest professionals’ pay benchmarking report, out today from EEF.

The annual report shows that a UK graduate engineering salary is now £28,000 a year on average – up by 4% from £26,890 last year. In comparison, according to the latest data from HESA, the average professional graduate salary is £22,984 a year.

This means that engineering graduates now earn over £5,000 or 22% a year more than other UK graduates – a figure that further reinforces engineering’s reputation for being a well-paid career.

This trend continues with both senior engineers and engineers earning more than the average UK worker. The report shows that an engineer can expect to earn £32,699 a year, while a senior engineer can expect £41, 800. In contrast, the national average pay in the UK according to ONS is £27,607 a year.

EEF’s Professionals’ Pay Benchmark Report is arguably one of the most comprehensive sources of pay data for engineers and managers in the industry. The 2016 data is based on responses from more than 240 companies, covering salary data for almost 6,000 managers and engineers across Great Britain.

The report is produced annually to provide a benchmark to assist companies in setting pay levels and to help them understand market rates across manufacturing.

The 2016 data shows that professionals’ pay can differ by as much as 10% depending on the region. The highest earning region is the South East where professionals’ take home £40,000 a year on average. In comparison, the lowest earning region is the South West where the median basic engineering salary is £36,000 a year.

As well as region, the report also identifies how pay varies across types of engineering role and specific skills sets. It shows that, in the last year, senior research and development engineers have seen the biggest premium attached to their skills – enjoying a 28% hike in basic median pay, which now stands at £37,109 a year.

Tim Thomas, head of employment and skills at EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation - engineering salary
Tim Thomas, director of employment & skills policy, EEF.

Director of Employment and Skills Policy at EEF, Tim Thomas explained: “Engineering skills are in high demand and short supply, which is why they continue to command a premium and why employers are prepared to pay it.

“Offering an attractive salary remains the first line of defence for firms fiercely competing to attract and retain skilled workers vital to their business. It’s a key factor behind our sector’s reputation for offering well-paid, sustainable careers, but it also reinforces the need for employers to be fully aware of industry pay rates so that they can benchmark and position themselves accordingly.”