Best Performing Engineering Sectors in the UK
Jobs in construction, manufacturing, tech and engineering have continued to see strong growth in 2017, with positions in mechanical, electrical, industrial and civil engineering some of the most in-demand roles in the UK[i] right now. The average salary for someone working in the engineering industry now stands at around £36,000, with salaries rising by £960 in 2017.
There is currently a dire need for engineers in the UK – Engineering UK recently reported that the country needs 1.8 million new engineers and technicians by 2025[ii]. This skills gap is being plugged in part by increased investment in STEM education and initiatives like the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology, a £15 million campus created by Sir James Dyson offering immersive engineering degrees for the next generation[iii]. But there’s still a way to go.
The shortage means that potential job seekers looking for the best jobs in engineering are in a strong position to negotiate an attractive salary package with some big-name employers in the UK. So what are the best performing sectors? Find out below:
1. RENEWABLE ENERGY
As the UK’s renewable energy sector continues to go from strength to strength – with the country committed to producing 15% of its total energy from renewables by the year 2020[iv] – career opportunities for engineers in this sector have never been better.
Wind energy is at the heart of the renewables revolution[v], with maintenance engineers who can service and maintain wind farms in high demand. As renewable technology continues to improve, long-term job prospects look strong with the UK’s wind sector enjoying record levels of employment.
If you’ve got a head for heights, are prepared to brave challenging year-round weather conditions and enjoy being surrounded by miles and miles of ocean, a job in wind energy could be the career opportunity you’re looking for. The renewables sector is also in need of electrical, civil, materials and mechanical engineers. You could consider a role in renewables if you’ve had previous experience in automotive, defense, marine or aerospace, as many of the skills gained in these areas are easily transferable.
It’s hard to ignore the multi-million pound infrastructure projects that are going on in the UK at the moment: most notably, HS2 and Crossrail 2. Ongoing rail improvements will continue to be on the government’s agenda over the coming years – excellent news for the engineering jobs market. With a skills shortage looming and some commentators concerned that this might affect overall delivery of projects already in the pipeline, this is the perfect time to look for a new challenge if you are a skilled engineer wanting to get involved with some of the best engineering projects in the UK.
The £15 billion Crossrail project has so far seen over 100 million working hours invested, opening up thousands of opportunities for engineers and the generation of over 600 apprenticeships since 2012[vi]. Employers in the rail sector are always on the look out for structural, section, mechanical, electrical, highway, project delivery, materials, telecoms and site engineers to plug the skills gap and ensure delivery of these cutting edge projects.
Working for the rail sector comes with a number of attractive employee benefits too, including long-term job security, excellent reductions on rail travel and ongoing opportunities for skills and career development.
There’s no escaping the fact that tech now has a huge impact on every aspect of modern society. As the need and demand continues to grow for self-driving cars, high tech homes, increased IT security, Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence, so will the demand for highly skilled technical engineers.
With the sector constantly evolving, there’s never been a better time to search for some of the best engineering jobs in the UK. And you don’t necessarily need to be based in London any more either: Manchester, Edinburgh, Bristol, Glasgow and Birmingham are all thriving tech hubs[vii] offering attractive job opportunities, both in tech start-ups and big-name tech giants.
If you want to succeed in the brave new world of tech and secure the job of your dreams, bear in mind that employers are always on the look out for specialists in machine learning and system engineering, Big Data engineering, robotic software engineering, DevOps, performance, network and application engineering. Train in one of these areas and you could find yourself at the forefront of technical advances in the UK.