Engineering jobs can easily hit an average salary of £40,000 in the UK, depending on the sector you work in. As a diverse job sector varying in job descriptions and disciplines, this industry has grown at a rate of 1.5% to 2% annually (according to Zoek), so the opportunity to have a successful career in engineering is promising.

So, if you’re wondering which engineering path would be most profitable for you, take a look at the below jobs that typically pay a very generous salary. The below figures have been taken from The Engineer’s 2018 salary survey.

Sector Average salary (2018)
Oil and gas engineers £53,913
Energy, renewables and nuclear engineers £52,653
Chemicals, pharmaceuticals and medical engineers £50,890
Automotive engineers £48,967
Food, drink and consumer goods engineers £48,155
Defence, security and marine engineers £47,968
Aerospace engineers £47,752
Materials engineers £47,130
Rail, civil and structural engineers £45,871
Academic engineers £44,774
Telecoms, utilities and electronics engineers £44,504

Oil and gas

Average salaries for engineers in the oil and gas industry experienced a drop in 2018. The average salary was £53,913, a decrease from the average salary published in 2017, which was £54,461.  Despite the decline in overall salary, the sector is still the highest paid for engineering, and also boasts the highest paid senior engineers and managers of any industry.


Energy, renewables and nuclear

Salaries in this sector remained fairly stable despite challenges. It remains the second highest paid sector for the third year running (based on this survey), at an average of £52,653, up slightly from 2017, at £51,953.


Chemicals, pharmaceuticals and medical

Remaining in third place, the average salary has dropped slightly for chemical, pharmaceutical and medical engineers, from £51,750 (2017) to £50,890 (2018).



Those working in this sector have benefitted from a slight increase from 2017, more specifically £48,100, which rose to £48,967. Junior and senior engineers, and managers can expect to earn salaries close to the overall average too.


Food, drink and consumer goods

In 2017, the average salary for this sector was £46,460. This has risen significantly in 2018, to £48,155. The average salaries for junior engineers and graduates also rose from last year – a positive signal, after it was originally the lowest of all sectors. The average salary increased from £24,954 to £27,802.


Defence, security and marine

In 2017, the average salary for defence, security and marine engineers was £46,838. The average has increased to £47,968 in 2018, which could be a result of the increase in pay senior engineers and managers benefitted from (£46,954 to £47,438).



Aerospace saw a very slight increase to the average salary. It rose from £46,362 in 2017 to £47,752 in 2018. Director salaries within the sector altered minimally – in 2017, the average salary was £67,538, while in 2018 it dropped to £67,511. However, senior managers and engineer average salary rose to £50,014 in 2018, from £48,658 in 2017.



Over the last three years, there has been a significant rise in average salary for materials engineers. In 2017, the average salary was £39,494, which shot up in 2017 to £48,318. This has risen again in 2018, but not as significantly, to £47,130.


Rail, civil and structural

The 2017 average salary for rail, civil and structural engineers was £44,890. This has risen slightly in 2018 to £45,871, so no significant changes here.



In 2017, the average salary for academic engineers was £43,809. In 2018, however, this increased to £44,774, also putting academia above what is now the lowest paying sector (of these 10) in the engineering industry, telecoms, utilities and electronics.


Telecoms, utilities and electronics

The average salary in this sector is £44,504, down from £46,567 in 2017. The Engineer also found that more than a quarter of engineers in this sector were based in London and the South East. Engineers in England and Scotland are earning the lowest wages, on £37,250.   

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