Graduate Careers Advice

Graduate Engineering Careers

James Thornhill

Few areas of work are as vital to our society as ‘engineering’ – it has a part to play in most things we use in our everyday lives such as transport and running water through to smart phones and the internet.

An engineer of some description will have played a part in almost everything we use.

It is also big business turning over £1.06 trillion a year, making it a great industry to find job opportunities in.

Between 2010 and 2020, it was predicted that engineering companies would have 2.74 million jobs, with 1.86 million roles being for people who are required to have direct engineering skills.

The industry currently hires 5.4 million people across 542,440 engineering companies.

Engineering uses maths and science (in particular physics) and can be creative, practical or problem solving in nature.

 In engineering you could be part of a team that develops the next big thing in technology, or simply improve something we already have.

Here are some of the main types of engineering you can do:

  • Aeronautical engineering
  • Civil engineering
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Computer Software/Hardware engineering
  • Nuclear engineering
  • Marine engineering
  • Electrical engineering
  • Automotive engineering
  • Chemical engineering

Different engineering disciplines can apply to many different industries and job roles. You could work in research and development, design or production.

How much can I earn as an Engineer? 

The average graduate starting salary in engineering is ££26,000, with most starting salaries falling between £23,000 and £31,000. (Figures from The Graduate Market in 2016 report from High Fliers).

What Qualifications do I Need to be an Engineer?


After a Bachelors Degree

Although not always essential to progress into an engineering career postgraduate study can be an important step, especially in job specialisms where it is necessary to gain incorporated or chartered engineer status.

Different universities will have different entry requirements to undertake postgraduate study, but you might be asked for the following:

  • 'A' Level: AAA (including Mathematics and Physics or Chemistry or Biology).

The following is also required:

  • GCSE: A minimum of grade 4 (C) in GCSE English.

Graduate training schemes are available with many employers straight after your bachelors degree.

For entry to one of these schemes you usually require a degree at 2:2 class or above, in a relevant technical or scientific subject.

What Skills Do I Need to be an Engineer?

Different areas of engineering require a wide-range of different and specific skills but in general you could be expected to possess some or all of the following:

  • Practical problem solving
  • Technical awareness
  • Maths and IT skills
  • computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) skills
  • Commercial awareness
  • Logic
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Good presentation skills
  • Ability to work independently
  • Environmental awareness
  • Accuracy
  • Motivation
  • Flexibility
  • Ability to learn quickly

What Experience Do I Need to Get a Job in Engineering?

Much of what employers look for in engineering candidates comes from formal academic qualifications, but displaying any level of practical experience in the workplace will offer you a serious advantage in a job hunt.

Placements at school and college can be arranged with the help of a careers advisor or through friends and family.

Graduate Talent Pool is the new service which matches graduates with suitable internships which will be a good way to get industry experience following graduate: http://graduatetalentpool.direct.gov.uk

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