Civil engineers are involved with the design, development and construction of a huge range of projects in the built and natural environment, from bridges and tall buildings to transport links and sports stadiums. Their role is central to ensuring the safe, timely and well-resourced completion of projects in these areas.

Civil engineers liaise with clients to plan, manage, design and supervise the construction of projects. They work in a number of different settings and, with experience, can run projects as a project manager.  Civil engineering offers many opportunities as well as the satisfaction of helping to improve and enhance public quality of life in many settings.

Day-to-Day Activities

  • planning with the client
  • analysing surveys, testing and mapping data using computer modelling software
  • creating blueprints using computer aided design (CAD)
  • judging if projects are worth doing by looking at costs, time and labour
  • checking risks and the effects on the environment
  • preparing bids for tenders, and reporting to clients and government agencies
  • managing and checking progress at each stage
  • making sure sites follow health and safety rules.

Technology Skills

  • Analytical or scientific software: e.g. HEC-HMS, Minitab, The MathWorks MATLAB, Trimble Geomatics Office
  • Computer aided design CAD software: e.g. Autodesk AutoCAD Civil 3D, Bentley MicroStation, Dassault Systemes SOLIDWORKS, PTC Creo Parametric
  • Development environment software: e.g. Microsoft Visual Basic, National Instruments LabVIEW, Verilog
  • Graphics or photo imaging software: e.g. Adobe Systems Adobe Fireworks, Bentley GeoPak Bridge, SmugMug Flickr, Trimble SketchUp Pro
  • Map creation software: e.g. Cartography software, ESRI ArcGIS software, Geographic information system GIS software, Intergraph MGE
  • Office suite software: e.g. Apple iWork, Corel Office Suite, Google Drive, LibreOffice, Microsoft Office,
  • Project management software: e.g. Atlassian Confluence, Microsoft Project, Microsoft SharePoint

Employment Prospects

  • 86,224 civil engineers are employed in the UK.
  • New job opportunities are likely in the future.
  • Green jobs will change the work and skills needed.

Working Environment

  • 9 to 5
  • Abroad
  • In the Field
  • Office
  • On Sites
  • Out of Hours
  • Throughout the UK

Time - Average of 41 hours per week.

Compare with the paid time worked by full-time employees in the UK.

Pay - Average of £830 per week.

Compare with the pay, excluding overtime, for full-time employees across the UK.


Route to Employment

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  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Design & Technology:Product Design
  • Further Mathematics

Other Information

You usually need a degree in civil or structural engineering. Some degree courses include a work placement, which can be useful for making industry contacts to help find work after you finish your studies. You can apply for a postgraduate master's award in civil engineering if you've got a related degree like maths, science or geology. You could also start as a civil engineering technician and study part time for a degree while you work. You need to have a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card or equivalent to work on sites.

Popular Degree Subjects

The most common degree subjects to be a Civil Engineer


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Skills Needed

Skills Key:

  • Oral Communication
  • Critical Thinking
  • Judgment & Decision Making
  • Problem Solving
  • Teamwork
  • Written Communication
  • Negotiation & Persuasion
  • Emotional Intelligence

Interests Needed

Interests Key:

  • Realistic
  • Investigative
  • Conventional

Knowledge Needed

Knowledge Key:

  • Engineering and Technology
  • Building and Construction
  • Mathematics
  • Design
  • English Language
  • Administration and Management
  • Physics
  • Law and Government

Abilities Needed

Abilities Key:

  • Oral Expression
  • Written Comprehension
  • Oral Comprehension
  • Mathematical Reasoning
  • Problem Sensitivity
  • Deductive Reasoning
  • Number Facility
  • Category Flexibility

Work Styles Needed

Work Styles Key:

  • Integrity
  • Dependability
  • Attention to Detail
  • Analytical Thinking
  • Initiative
  • Achievement & Effort
  • Self Control
  • Persistence

Develop your Skills

Further Information

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Where to look for work

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