How much do engineers make?

  • Helena Kudiabor
  • Apr 24 2024

If you’re an aspiring engineer, you’re probably curious about how much engineers are paid. Keep reading to learn more about regional and industry variations in engineering salaries, and how to boost your earning potential.


Overview of engineering careers

A career in engineering can be tailored to your personal interests, so you’ll be sure to find a role that suits you. For example, if you’re interested in the solar system and space exploration, you could choose to specialise as a space systems engineer or aeronautical engineer, where you’ll work on aircraft and spacecraft components. Alternatively, you might prefer working in electrical engineering, which focuses on building and maintaining electrical systems. 

Furthermore, renewable energy and the rise of artificial intelligence are two rapidly growing sectors, so how about a career as a renewable energy engineer, a robotics engineer or an AI engineer?

Average salaries for engineers

According to the UK government’s website, here are the salaries for some of the most popular engineering jobs:

  • Aerospace engineer: £27,000-£60,000
  • Biomedical engineer: £35,000-£50,000
  • Broadcast engineer: £20,000-£50,000
  • Chemical engineer: £30,000-£65,000
  • Nuclear engineer: £28,000-£58,000
  • Robotics engineer: £27,500-£54,000

Factors influencing engineering salaries

Educational background and qualifications

One of the biggest factors impacting earning potential are qualifications. Research shows that having an undergraduate degree can increase your salary, while holding a master’s or PhD can increase your salary even further. Having a PhD also allows you to work as a lecturer at a university.

Many people are put off by the cost of university, but there’s ways around it. You can apply for scholarships and bursaries, or work before postgraduate study to save up. Completing an apprenticeship is also one of the most effective ways to relieve the financial burden of education. Apprenticeships combine a fully funded education and paid work experience, and there are a range of engineering apprenticeships available. 

Industry and sector variations

As discussed earlier, there’s a range of different career opportunities within engineering. Certain sectors of engineering pay more lucrative salaries, such as aerospace, energy and technology. This is due to the increased attention given to these sectors (concerns about climate change and the rise of artificial intelligence) and the impact of cutting-edge, innovative projects on earning potential. 


Just like other professions, engineers who work in the private sector tend to receive the highest salaries, as opposed to their counterparts working for the government, charities and other places in the public sector. Similarly, working for a more high-profile company (i.e Rolls Royce, Boeing) will also increase your earning potential. 

Experience and expertise

One’s expertise plays a huge role in determining salary expectations, with those with the most experience in engineering receiving the highest salaries. This is why it’s important to showcase leadership skills and initiative in engineering roles, as this will allow you to progress faster.


Engineers working in big cities like London tend to receive higher salaries, to account for the high cost of living there. 

Negotiating salaries in engineering

Effective salary negotiation strategies

It’s easy to think that your salary is set in stone, but there’s definitely room for salary negotiation as you progress in your career. If you’d like a raise, be sure to do some research so you understand the average salary of an engineer in your position. It’s also worth thinking about business needs, and whether your raise is likely to be accepted. These factors will help you to come up with a proposal that takes into consideration business needs and the wider industry. 

When speaking to your supervisor about a potential salary increase, be sure to outline why you deserve a raise and what you’ve contributed to the company. This is where showcasing leadership skills and taking on additional responsibilities comes in handy.

Navigating job offers

If you’re currently applying for new roles, you might be lucky enough to receive multiple offers. To decide between different offers, compare factors such as base salary and potential bonuses, benefits (i.e health insurance), commuting and living expenses and opportunities for progression and career development. It’s also worth considering how much you would enjoy working for the company. After all, many people might prefer to work in a smaller, more close-knit charity than a large, high-profile organisation. 

How much do engineers make? It depends on a variety of factors, including location, experience, industry and educational background. Luckily, leveraging these factors, choosing between job offers carefully and negotiating salary increases are all ways to boost your salary. No matter which sector of engineering you’re interested in, opportunities for growth, success and salary advancement abound.