An interest in design and construction are important for a career in the popular field of civil engineering
Civil engineers are involved with the design, development and construction of a huge range of projects in the built and natural environment. Their role is central to ensuring the safe, timely and well-resourced completion of projects in many areas.
Liaising with clients, you will plan, manage, design and supervise the construction of projects. You'll work in a number of different settings and, with experience, could run projects as a project manager.
You may work on projects involving:
As a consulting civil engineer, you'll need to:
A generous London weighting applies.
Most employers provide additional benefits, such as a pension, healthcare scheme, life insurance, company car, mobile phone and payment of professional fees.
Income data from the ICE. Figures are intended as a guide only.
The average working week is 42 hours and may include some unsocial hours, depending on your particular speciality and individual project requirements. You may occasionally have to work long hours and weekends.
This area of work is open to civil and structural engineering graduates. An honours degree, accredited by the ICE, is essential for gaining Chartered Engineer (MICE CEng) status with the ICE.
It may be possible to enter this profession as a graduate with a BSc or another engineering discipline, but you may be limited as to how far you can progress in your career. Entry with a HND only is unusual.
In order to achieve chartered membership of the ICE, you will need to complete three stages. Stage one is to obtain a MEng (Hons) or a BEng (Hons) degree, plus a relevant postgraduate degree; or complete a suitable employer-led learning programme. Stage two is to undertake Initial Professional Development, preferably through an ICE-approved training scheme, and the final stage is to meet the requirements of the Professional Review.
Full details on routes into civil engineering can be found in the careers section of the ICE website.
You will need to show:
Employers select candidates because of the experience and skills they can bring to a role. However, it is important to be aware that gaining the relevant experience and skills and becoming professionally chartered takes a significant length of time.
Relevant summer work experience and placements can be very useful in providing a context to job applications as well as networking opportunities. Contact the ICE to find out about industrial placements.
Degree courses that provide a year in industry can also be very helpful in developing contacts. The engineering world is an active community, which provides a variety of opportunities for new entrants to network and build on their knowledge of the industry.
While consulting civil engineers are employed mainly by civil engineering consultancies, employers may also include:
The choice of jobs, employers, specialist areas and locations varies widely.
This is a diverse and developing industry with increasing emphasis on partnerships between organisations, sustainability and environmental considerations. Employers can range in size from those employing a relatively small number of engineers, to those that employ thousands.
Some employers, especially the smaller companies, specialise in particular aspects of consultancy such as design for projects in drainage, water or railways. The larger consultancy firms may offer their consultancy services across a wide variety of specialisms.
Look for job vacancies at:
You'll be given training on the job, which will involve both design and planning-focused work within the office and site-based activities. Many employers offer structured training schemes to meet ICE requirements for chartership. If you embark on one of these schemes, you'll be assigned a mentor/supervising civil engineer, who will support you.
Ask prospective employers during the selection process, if they operate a structured training scheme for graduates and if you will be offered a place on the scheme. The ICE Approved Employers Search provides details of companies that offer approved training schemes.
In order to gain chartered status, you'll have to show that you meet certain criteria by achieving development objectives, in topics such as:
CPD is an important element of career progression for civil engineers. The ICE provides guidelines for effective CPD and specific types of activities.
Scope for gaining experience in different areas is usually down to the nature of your employer rather than the actual size. This means it is essential to fully research the industry and the approach of individual companies. For information about specific companies see the ICE website and its linked recruitment site. Company websites can also provide a useful insight.
You can develop your career in a number of ways and some employers may offer the flexibility to choose a specialist area of work. To progress at a fast pace, geographical mobility is useful. With experience, it is possible to work abroad if you are employed by a large, multinational company.
Employers vary as to how they develop and promote engineers, but generally graduates begin at graduate engineer level. Once chartership has been achieved, promotion to senior engineer level is possible, followed by principal engineer level with further experience.
Job titles for more senior positions will vary between employers. Progress may be possible beyond these roles. You may find that your career prospects are negatively affected if you do not gain chartered status.
Civil engineers can specialise in a diverse range of areas, including:
Active membership of the ICE at student level and beyond is advisable as it provides valuable networking opportunities and enhances your career prospects.