If you’re an electrical engineering candidate, you might be wondering what kind of salary you’ll be offered at various stages of your career, or what the average salary is for electrical engineers who have specialised in certain areas. Or, you may be an employer who wants to see the data for the average electrical and electronics engineer salary in the industry, to better inform your recruiting and hiring decisions.
In this blog post, we take a look at what the role of an electrical engineer involves, what the salary progression looks like on average, and what variation there is between different disciplines that fall under the electrical engineering umbrella.
What does an Electrical Engineer do?
There are a wide range of different roles within the electrical engineering industry, but in general, the job involves designing, developing and maintaining different electrical systems for buildings, machinery, devices and equipment. Their work can be on any scale; from designing the power grids that provide energy to towns and cities to producing circuitry from minuscule medical devices that monitor vital patient data.
As well as designing new equipment, electrical engineers also test and fix existing electrical systems and machinery. Common industries that hire electrical engineers include power, telecommunication, automation and control, robotics, and automotive and aerospace.
Every role is different, but the general responsibilities of an electrical engineer include:
- Developing electrical products based on client or customer requirements
- Working independently or as part of the team on projects designing and developing systems, circuits, equipment and devices
- Designing interfaces for electronic equipment or software
- Entering data from product testing and research and responding to or solving what has been highlighted
- Planning and carrying out research or tests on materials, processes and assembly methods
- Developing manufacturing processes for electrical equipment or circuitry
- Creating test methodology to ensure safety and quality of electrical products and equipment
- Preparing proposals, research resorts, test reports, safety and quality specifications and product documentation
- Supervising or collaborate with other engineers, designers and colleagues
- Keeping up to date with industry and global standards and ensuring that all products or equipment designed complies with these
What is the Starting Salary for an Electrical Engineer?
The starting salaries for a graduate electrical engineer are very competitive, as it is an industry that pays well because of the level of skill required to carry out the work involved. Starting salaries will vary however depending on the location of the company you work for, the size of the company, the responsibility that your role involves and how much experience you already have.
According to data from the National Careers Service, the average electrical engineer starting salary is £20,000. This can range up to £26,000 in some professions, particularly if you’re living and working in London.
Your starting salary may also depend on what kind of benefits you get with the job. Some electrical engineers might earn less to begin with, but have things like a company car, health insurance and training that is paid for by the organisation.
Types of Electrical Engineer
The electrical engineer salary payscale is quite broad, as there are varying levels of responsibility within the overall role, and some industries pay their engineers a lot more than others. Here are some of the common roles in the electrical and electronics industry, and the average salaries for the engineers working in them.
Salary for Electrical Engineer with Masters
Research from Payscale shows that the average salary for an electrical engineering graduate with a Masters degree is £39,715 in the UK. Engineers who have an MSc don’t necessarily earn more than their peers because of this qualification specifically, but some higher-paying jobs may require a Masters degree which is why the average salary is higher.
Electrical Test Engineer Salary
An electrical test engineer is responsible for devising, planning and carrying out various quality and safety tests on electrical equipment. They may also be required to produce guidance and documentation to help others carry out their tests, along with writing and presenting reports that summarise the results of their assessments.
Data from Payscale reveals that the average electrical test engineer salary is £26,963 in the UK.
Junior Electrical Engineer Salary
A junior electrical engineer is usually classed as someone who has worked for several years in the industry and may have received one or two promotions or been given increased responsibilities in their time at work.
The average annual salary for a junior electrical engineer in the UK is £27,000 according to data from UK Talent. The pay for roles with this level of experience can go up to around £38,000 however in certain positions and industries, as salary really depends on experience at this stage.
Electrical Control Engineer Salary
An electrical control engineer designs and develops the electrical components and devices or machinery involved in control systems. They will likely have experience working in the automation and control industry but have begun their career as a general electrical engineer.
Data from Glassdoor shows that the average electrical control engineer salary in the UK is £43,723 annually.
Aircraft Electrical Engineer Salary
In the aviation industry, electrical engineers work on the systems and components used in aircraft machinery. They may also provide maintenance and repairs to electrical machinery and carry out safety and quality checks through the design and build processes.
An avionics engineer is someone within the aviation and aerospace industry who focuses on the electronic systems used within the vehicles built and used here. Their average annual salary in the UK is £38,103 according to data from Glassdoor.
Nuclear Electrical Engineer Salary
Nuclear energy is in the top ten highest paying engineering sectors, and there are many job opportunities for electrical engineers within this. You’ll design and maintain the electrical systems involved in nuclear power, as well as working with other specialist engineers to find solutions to potential problems and develop new systems and technology.
According to Payscale, the average annual salary for a nuclear engineer in the UK is £44,359.
Marine Electrical Engineer Salary
A marine electrical engineer is a specialist engineering role that involves working on electrical marine equipment that is used for everything from marine conservation to laying underwater cables.
The average annual marine electrical engineer salary is £38,024 in the United Kingdom.
Automotive Electrical Engineer Salary
Automotive electrical engineers design, develop, test and build the electrical components involved in different vehicles, often working with general automotive engineers on projects.
Data from Payscale reports that £36,340 is the average annual salary that an automotive engineer in the UK makes.
Electrical Engineer Consultant Salary
An electrical engineering consultant can either work as part of a consultancy agency or with an electrical firm. They are brought in to advise and oversee electrical engineering projects in a range of different sectors and often have specialist knowledge or experiences after working for a long time as an electrical engineer themselves.
The national average salary for an Electrical Engineering Consultant is £38,024 in the United Kingdom, according to data from Glassdoor.
Chartered Electrical Engineer Salary
Becoming a chartered electrical engineer not only opens up a lot more doors for you in terms of career opportunities, but it also means that your average salary is likely to be significantly higher than others working in similar roles who don’t have chartered status.
According to data from Payscale, the average annual chartered electrical engineer salary in the UK is £39,402. This may be higher for electrical engineers who are working in industries like oil, gas and nuclear power where more experienced and qualified members of staff tend to earn more, on average.
Senior Electrical Engineer Salary
A senior electrical engineer is considered to be someone who has been working in the industry for at least a decade and is usually in a role that involves a significant level of management and responsibility. This may be as the director of the company, as the leader of a department or in charge of a team of other, junior electrical engineers.
The average salary for a senior electrical engineer working in the UK is £48,580, according to data from Glassdoor. The jobs that actually fall under this title are varied however, so annual salaries can range from £40,000 to £65,000, with some managers and directors earning even more later in their careers.
What qualifications do you need to be an electrical engineer?
For a lot of roles in electrical engineering, a university degree or equivalent qualification is required. You can study an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering specifically or another, related discipline such as mechatronics or applied physics.
Many engineers also continue their studies and gain an MSc qualification in electrical engineering to gain more specialist skills, experience and knowledge.
It is also possible to become an electrical engineer by completing an apprenticeship course that gives you the same level of understanding as a degree, along with a lot more practical experiences. Although it is harder to become a chartered engineer without a university degree, many people still enter the industry in this way and are very successful in their career progression.
How much does an electrical engineer make a month?
In the UK, the average salary of an electrical engineer is £32,590 a year according to data from Payscale. That means that, on average, an electrical engineer makes £2715.83 a month from their role.
How long to become an electrical engineer?
If you want to become an electrical engineer by going down the university degree route, it will usually take you 4-5 years to get the right qualifications to gain a graduate job. This is because most engineering students do an integrated Masters course after their undergraduate degree, and a lot also do a year in industry in between their years of study to gain more experience and get a better idea of which industry they would like to work in.
If you’re gaining relevant qualifications and experience by doing an apprenticeship course, it will take you around 4-6 years to complete all the necessary training, get a job at an equivalent graduate-level and start your career as an electrical engineer.
Electrical engineering is a very broad sector, and there is a wide range of different jobs within levels that range from graduate placements to company directors. The overlap with many other areas of engineering means that average salaries tend to vary a bit depending on the role, but there are consistent trends within these averages that reflect how salaries change depending on your level of experience and which stage of career you are at
If you’re looking for a job as an electrical engineer or are looking to hire electrical engineers in your company, Samuel Frank can help. For more information on our specialist recruitment services, get in touch and find out how we can make a difference.