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Engineering and manufacturing

The engineering and manufacturing sector covers Engineering design and development, manufacturing and process engineering, research and consultancy.

See also

Engineering design and development

Recognised by the obvious engineering complexity of the product or service the company provides. Engineering is right at the core of their business, all companies operate in a global market place and as such both export products and face stiff competition in the UK from foreign companies.

  • Aviation, civil and defence - Examples of companies or organisations having a UK base include Rolls Royce, BAE Systems and Airbus.
  • Marine transport - civil and defence Rolls Royce continues to develop its submarine division. BAE Systems also has defence based marine division. Underwater marine technology is a small niche industry, but has a presence in Scotland (Oceaneering International). Marine regulation e.g. Lloyd's Register is strong in the UK.
  • Transport and Transport Infrastructure - Largely led by overseas companies. Bombardier (Canadian owned) does have a strong presence in the UK. However development of our national and local travel infrastructure continues to provide graduate opportunities.
  • Automobile engineering - Opportunities in the central design and development departments of the major companies, but competition for places is high. Working overseas may be needed. Specialist opportunities with companies such as McLaren occur from time to time but competition is even fiercer.
  • Electronics and communications - Much of the hardware is designed and manufactured outside the UK. However opportunities for service support and application technology can be found.
  • Chemical Engineering - Roles within oil companies through to the manufacture of chemicals and pharmaceuticals.


  • The chemical industry - paints, pharmaceuticals, plastic production, industrial products, chemicals, oils and gases,
  • The fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry - food and drink, soaps and detergents, cosmetics and toiletries, paper products, tobacco industry
  • The energy industry - oil and gas processing facilities and refineries
  • The heavy materials industry - manufacture of steel, glass, and other specialised materials

Companies such as Procter & Gamble, Unilever, L'Oreal, BP, Shell, Kellogg's, Corus and Pilkington fit into this area.


Largely project and contract based, engineering consultancies come in all shapes and sizes, from international multidisciplinary consultancies to small specialist companies dealing with a niche area such as energy or environmental management.

  • Most of the larger consultancies e.g. Arup, Atkins and Mott MacDonald will have civil and construction engineering as their core discipline, but by modern technical necessity and diversity they will also have opportunities for mechanical, aeronautical, electrical engineering and IT graduates.
  • Consultancies with a strong process design sector such as Costain will specifically look for graduate chemical engineers.
  • Larger non-civil related consultancies are sometimes defence based, e.g. Qinetic & DSTL.


This is typically carried out in academic or Government-funded institutions. The greatest breakthroughs often come through multi-disciplinary approaches to problems.

The usual entry is via further study beyond undergraduate level to MSc and/or PhD. Continued career development is typically through specific post-doctoral projects. Funding for such work can be the university itself, but reliance on outside industry and direct government is heavy.

Getting in and getting experience

A 2.1 is often required but for specialist roles further study to MSc and beyond may be required. At the more commercial end there is more emphasis placed an ability to apply engineering knowledge and on the need for other skills such as communication, leadership and business awareness. The M.Eng route is the preferred option (rather than B.Eng) for those who ultimately require Chartered Status in order to develop their career.

Beyond the large organisations, which are generally well known and easily found in graduate recruitment directories, the other opportunities are spread across a whole raft of smaller and less well known companies and focussed research is essential to seek these out.

Work experience is a key advantage to securing a graduate position. Joining relevant professional bodies and networking via LinkedIn will be valuable to keep up to date with current developments and build contacts.

Vacancies and information

Engineering and manufacturing Graduate JobSearch

Job sites and targeted searches

General graduate engineering and manufacturing

Aerospace engineering

Chemical engineering

Electrical and electronic engineering

Mechanical engineering