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Engineering Management: Career path and salaries

  • September 13, 2021
 

Engineering and manufacturing are two closely linked sectors. Often they go hand-in-hand, so they are viewed as two sides of the same coin.

But the career paths and skillsets required for the two sectors are quite different.

How do we define engineering?

Engineering is concerned with the design and build of machines and structures. In some respects, you could class engineering as an umbrella term that sits above a broad spectrum of specialist disciplines, such as civil, construction, electrical, mechanical, chemical, and pharmaceutical, to name a few.

Engineering exists to solve problems. Whether the issue is finding new methods of transportation, or building structures to withstand extremes of weather, or creating power supplies, engineering is at the core of the solution.

Engineers use a blend of mathematics, science, art, business, and imagination to create innovative new designs then prove their feasibility. As such, the roles within engineering are diverse and offer niche specialisms.

What are the typical engineering disciplines?

As we’ve already mentioned, engineering is a broad topic with many strands. At Martin Veasey Talent Solutions, we typically work within the following sectors:

•    Engineering Management
•    Mechanical & Electrical Engineering
•    Process Engineering
•    Project Engineering
•    Engineering Support

Engineering Management

Engineering management is where business skills, technical engineering ability, and leadership all blend together. Generally, it’s a role that people grow into over time and not one you could walk into from university.

Engineering managers will have developed their technical skills throughout their career then added business and leadership know-how through training and experience in their roles.

The core purpose of engineering management is to head up engineering projects, ensuring they are completed on time and to the correct specification. Engineering managers will also mentor and coach engineers in their department.

Mechanical & Electrical Engineering

Although they are diverse subjects, the job titles within mechanical and electrical engineering roles are usually quite similar, e.g. Mechanical Design Engineer and Electrical Design Engineer.

However, the content of their roles differs tremendously. Essentially, electrical engineering is all about generating and distributing electrical power, either from scratch or within an electro-mechanical machine or system.

Whereas mechanical engineering relates to creating moving parts and bringing them together into complex machinery.

As such, the two disciplines work hand-in-hand and experienced electrical and mechanical engineers will develop a level of expertise in each other’s field.

Process Engineering

Process Engineers are usually found in chemical and biochemical manufacturing plants, where their goal is to convert multiple raw materials into finished products. Food, drinks, paints, agricultural feeds, oil refining, plastic manufacture, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics are all industries that use process engineers.

Any continuous manufacturing process will have a process engineer involved in the design and operation of the plant.

Project Engineering

Project Engineering is all about managing the many strands of a technical engineering project that can range from making a small machine up to constructing a nuclear power plant.

Project managers take the overall responsibility for delivering the specified project on time and within budget. To achieve that goal, they will manage multi-disciplinary teams by agreeing on milestones and holding people to account for delivering on their commitments.

They are usually subject-matter experts in the subject of the project but rely on the niche expertise of all the individuals within the project team to create and deliver the detail.

As such, project managers need a broad range of skills in many subjects, including planning and organising, people management, budgetary control, liaising with multiple third parties, and problem-solving.

Engineering Support

All engineering projects need a technically focussed support staff working behind the scenes. For example, when bidding for the project, estimators and cost engineers will work with proposals engineers to create the company’s submission for the work. 
These pre-sales roles all need a deep understanding of the overall project aims and the ability to communicate and work with all the other departments involved in the project.

Another strand of engineering support is the technical author, who will create all the operating and maintenance manuals for the customer.

Typical roles and approximate average salary bands in engineering

General Engineering

Engineering Manager £60,000 - £135,000
Principal Engineer   £45,000 - £90,000
Senior Engineer £45,000 - £90,000
Engineer   £45,000 - £72,000
Design Engineer    £43,000 - £56,000
Draughtsman £36,000 - £50,000
Graduate Engineer £21,000 - £33,000

Electrical & Mechanical Engineering

Engineering Manager £46,000 - £92,000
Principal Engineer £49,000 - £72,000
Senior Engineer £41,000 - £60,000
Engineer £35,000 - £55,000
Design Engineer £26,000 - £48,000
Draughtsman £22,000 - £34,000
Graduate Engineer £21,000 - £33,000

Process Engineering

Principal Process Engineer £54,000 - £75,000
Senior Process Engineer £46,000 - £70,000
Chemical Process Engineer £40,000 - £55,000
Process Engineer £35,000 - £55,000
Process Technician £24,000 - £35,000

Project Engineering

Head of Projects £57,000 - £95,000
Project Manager/ Senior PM £49,000 - £90,000
Senior Project Engineer £44,000 - £58,000
Project Engineer £31,000 - £51,000
Project Technician £26,000 - £36,000
Graduate Project Engineer £21,000 - £33,000

Engineering Support

Tendering Engineer £35,000 - £51,000
Cost Engineer £30,000 - £49,000
Technical Author £28,000 - £38,000
Estimator £26,000 - £36,000

     
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