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Engineering businesses can generate a huge return on investment by training and paying higher salaries to higher skilled workers – this will help you attract candidates from a small talent pool.

Sustainability is creating far more opportunities for candidates - electric vehicle charging infrastructure, for example, has already had a huge impact on businesses. There will soon be a stronger focus on renewable energy, wind farms, and the food industry.

Remuneration is still a top priority to engineering professionals, so ensuring you are paying at least the market average salary in your region is essential.

Reed’s 2020 Engineering Salary Guide highlights key trends in the UK engineering sector and looks to give insight into what patterns may be emerging in 2021.

Using data gathered from 2.7 million jobs posted last year on, the guide provides a comprehensive picture for some of the most prominent jobs in the industry.

It looks at engineering jobs across 12 UK regions and features wage information on roles such as field service engineers, engineering/technical directors, EHS managers, mechanical engineers, production managers, and many more.

The average UK salary growth is 2.1% industry-wide, so you may end up paying more than you expected, but finding the best candidates will pay for itself in the long-term.

In different regions of the UK, CNC programmers are earning a minimum of 3.7% higher than the year before – with those in Yorkshire and Humberside earning 8.2% higher.

Project managers in East Midlands are earning 6.3% more this year, while in East Anglia quality manager salaries have dropped by almost as much (6.2%). 

Field service engineers in London are earning 5.8% more than last year, but in the North East salaries for this role have dropped by 3.1% this year.

Systems engineer salaries in North West England have risen by 6.7%, despite salaries falling by 5.1% in Northern Ireland for the same role.

In Scotland, programme managers are seeing their salaries increase by 6.7% and salaries for production engineers in South East England have shot up this year, with a massive 8.6% increase.

Wales-based production engineers are earning 6.9% more than last year, along with those in the West Midlands (6% increase) - with a drop of 5.9% in South West England for this role.

Be creative and flexible when filling a vacancy; qualifications and certificates can be awarded over time, but those with the right mindset can be more easily moulded into the perfect candidate.

The sector overall is pushing for more apprenticeship schemes for people joining the workforce. In time, these candidates will emerge at the standard of the most qualified candidates. The best junior candidates are proactively taking advantage of work experience opportunities and attending development events.

Having a good benefits package is critical to stand out from other firms, as professionals will usually be considering two to five offers within two weeks of becoming available. Offering opportunities to develop is increasingly valuable and desirable to candidates and will make your business stand out.

Reed’s UK salary guides 2023