Engineer Job Overview
Engineering includes computer hardware and software, aerospace, chemical, civil, renewable energy, electrical and electronic, mechanical, production and manufacturing among others. Levels include operatives, mechanics, technicians, supervisors and managers. Operatives work with various tools from hand-held equipment to large industrial machines.
Engineering offers variety and use of practical skills. Maintenance engineers diagnose faults, repair equipment, carry out maintenance and respond to faults including breakdowns. They also comply with Health & Safety regulations. Duties could include building components and sub-assemblies into finished items, operating machines such as drills, lathes and grinders, cutting and using moulding machines. Work can include repetitive tasks on production lines or be more diverse – for instance, maintaining electrical equipment. Depending on working conditions and hazardous tasks (fumes, high temperatures etc.), special safety equipment may be required in addition to the normal safety glasses, overalls and boots.
Engineer Job Education Requirements
Entry routes include courses at college (a course at Level 2 or 3 - Certificate or Diploma level), or a good general education for acceptance as an apprentice. Apprenticeships require four GCSEs at grades A-E including mathematics, English, science, engineering, ICT or design and technology. Later, many employers offer part-time study towards NVQ Level 3.
Engineer Job Market
Most positions are full-time, some with evening and weekend shifts and even nights in a 24-hour environment. According to statistics, jobs have increased over recently in the engineering field, along with maintenance
and mechanical engineering
. Conversely, a decrease has been reported in marine, chemical process and automotive engineering vacancies.
Engineer Job Salaries
Starting salaries range from £12,500 to £15,000; experienced operatives can increase their income to £16,000 - £24,000. The UK average salary for engineers at all levels is reported between £35,000 – £37,500 with the top 10 per cent earning over £47,500 (sample size approximately 12,000). Avionics engineers with experience were amongst the highest paid with average salaries at £70,000, shipbuilders £47,500 and R&D at around £48,775. Technical sales engineers receive £38,774. All figures are UK averages, subject to regional variations and trends.