Career Options- Civil Engineering

  • Career Options- Civil Engineering

What kind of jobs can I do?

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) contains comprehensive and relevant careers and sector information for civil engineers and technicians at every stage.  The Engineering Council outlines routes to gaining chartered status. 

Women are an under-represented sector within engineering Women's Engineering Society (WES) and WISE (Women into Science, Engineering and Construction) offer networks and resources to help address this.


Destinations of QUB graduates of Civil Engineering

A survey of graduates six months after graduation reveals that QUB graduates from Civil Engineering have recently gone into the following roles:

Civil Engineer (UG)- Graduate Civil Engineer, Graduate Structural Engineer, Graduate Engineer, Consultant, Site Engineer (Civil), Junior Engineer, Assistant Project Manager, Technical Assistant, Graduate Engineer for water and waste water treatment, Financial Engineer, Environmental Engineer, Process Engineer, Systems Engineer, Student Officer, KTP Associate, Structural Engineer, Renewable Energy Consultant

Civil Engineering (PGT)- Graduate OHL Engineer, Technical Engineer, Assistant Engineer, Intermediate Building Services Engineer, Site Engineer, Project Manager, Geotechnical Engineer, Environmental Officer, Graduate Civil Engineer, Environmental Engineer, Building Information Management Coordinator, Data analyst, Civil Engineer, Environmental Consultant

Civil Engineering (PGR)- Structural & Fire Safety Engineer, Research fellow, Environmental Scientist, Self-employed Environmental Consultant, Post-Doctoral Research Officer, Project Manager, Data analyst, Research engineer, Deals Strategy Associate, Senior Engineer, Process engineering, Graduate Hydrogeologist    

Civil Engineering (Further Study)- MSc Construction Project Management, MSc Risk & Investment Management, PGCE Secondary School Maths, PhD Civil Engineering

As with all programmes at all universities, some graduates have not gone into graduate level work. Recent roles have included: Shop Assistant, Sales Person and Dispatch Operative. 

There can be many reasons to explain this including saving for further study, getting relevant work experience, wanting to take some time-out, but often it is due to a lack of career planning prior to graduating. Reviewing these careers resources and taking advantage of opportunities to Go Further will help to ensure that you fulfil your career potential. If you wish to book an appointment to discuss your options and plan your career you can do this through MyFuture.


Where have previous Queens Civil Engineering graduates gained employment?

AECOM, Amey Consulting, Arup, Atkins, Balfour Beatty, BAM Nuttall South, Dawsson-Wam Civil Engineering, Deloitte, Department of Infrastructure, Design ID, Doran Consulting, Hanna and Hutchinson Consulting Engineers, Laing O'Rourke, McLaughlin & Harvey, McMahon Associates, McMullen Facades, Moore Concrete, Morgan Sindall Construction Infrastructure, Mott MacDonald, Mouchel, MWH Global, Queen's University Belfast, RAW Technology Ltd, Realtime Civil Engineering, Severfield (NI) Limited, Semple & McKillop Ltd, WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff.



This broad sector addresses issues affecting technology, infrastructure, natural and urban built environments. There are many different branches of engineering, some of which will require further of specific training.  Typical job roles within this sector related to civil engineering include:

Consulting civil engineerinvolved in the design and development of ideas, liaising with clients and working to solve problems. 

Contracting civil engineer uses the plans and designs from consulting civil engineers and project manages them to completion, managing people and budgets and monitoring progress.

Drilling engineerinvolved in all aspects of drilling oil and gas well, including design, planning, supervision and working with a large team of specialists.

Energy engineercreates energy using renewable and non-renewable sources, designing and evaluating processes and monitoring environment impact.

Materials engineerassess, develop, test and design materials to improve technologies and processes in different industries.

Quality managerfound in different sectors, ensures all procedures and products meet legal compliance and are fit for purpose.

Structural engineerdesign and test structures and materials for durability and safety, working with other professions and making recommendations.

Water engineerspecialise in water based projects including flood defences, waste removal and clean water delivery.  Also involved with water storage and management.


Construction and Property 

Employment opportunities within this sector include anything to do with buildings, housing, planning and surveying.  Typical job roles where civil engineering would be useful include:

Architectural technologist– preparing briefs, designing and presenting proposals, working directly with clients.

Building control surveyor– ensuring all rules and legislation are followed and implemented when buildings are being built, adapted and maintained.

Building surveyor– conduct surveys to identify faults and possible repairs, management of buildings of historical importance, providing written reports and advising.

Engineering geologist– possible to gain entry through Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE)

Estate agent– liaising between buyers and sellers to negotiate sales of land, residential and commercial properties.

Historic buildings inspector/conservation officer– visiting sites, making recommendations on how best to care for buildings of historical/cultural importance.

Minerals surveyor– completing initial surveys and assessments for development of mines, manage return of land to restore land and manage waste.

Quantity surveyor– will require conversion course through Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Site engineer– works alongside other professionals to advise, map out, implement and supervise small and large scale projects. 


Business and Management

Many opportunities within business and management are open to any degree discipline and graduate schemes can be competitive.  A degree in Civil Engineering will be beneficial if applying to a vacancy in a company related in any way to your degree content.

Civil Service fast streamer– open to any discipline, areas engineering students may prefer include the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Department for Energy and Climate Change or the Ministry of Defence.

Environmental consultant– works with businesses and organisations to advise and ensure that any environmental impacts follow current legislation and regulations.

Financial manager– open to all degree disciplines but may require further training.

Health service managerHSCNI runs a graduate scheme with options in the following areas - Graduate Information Technology Services Scheme, Graduate Engineering Trainee Scheme, Management Trainee Scheme, Graduate Human Resources/ Organisation Development Scheme and Graduate Procurement Scheme.

Management consultant– help organisations identify aims and objectives, create strategy, develop specialist skills and identify areas of strength and weakness.

Project manager– delivering projects within budget and on time, effectively managing resources.



Accountancy and professional services firms hire large numbers of graduates every year and with a civil engineering degree developing skills in analysing and interpreting data, with strong IT, numeracy and critical thinking abilities you can make yourself highly desirable. 

Some companies will require additional, specific qualifications to apply, others will provide on the job training so research is key.  Some areas which consider engineering students include: 

Actuarial analyst– using statistics and formulas to assess risk.

Actuary– Assesses and advises on financial risk.

Chartered loss adjuster– also called domestic adjusters or commercial adjusters, they work on behalf of insurance companies to assess claims.

Corporate investment banker– advising companies, governments and institutions on how best to manage the finances and meet set goals.

Forensic accountant– investigating and analysing data to discover financial inaccuracies and check for fraudulent activity or misconduct

Insurance risk surveyor– engineering subjects are required for specialist engineering related risk surveying.

Risk manager– may specialise in a variety of areas, advising companies of risks to their business from different sources.

Stockbroker– using data and analytical skills to advise individuals and companies about investment options.



In Schools: A recognised teaching qualification is essential to find work in this area. The Department of Education Northern Ireland has general details about Initial Teacher Education (which includes the PGCE). The Universities and Colleges offering the training also have information on their websites which include how to apply and the closing dates e.g. Queen’s Initial Teacher Education (PGCE) information. 

Get Into Teaching offers support for graduates wanting to teach science subjects in GB and offers a fully funded subject knowledge enhancement course (SKE) before starting your training if you want to specialise.

PGCE courses are competitive to get into so interested students are recommended to: 

  • Gain experience of working with young people of the age group you hope to teach – usually gained through voluntary work.
  • Get an insight into what work as a teacher is like by trying to arrange to speak to a teacher to ask them about their job, and/or try to get some classroom observation experience. You may also be able to arrange visits through personal contacts or with schools where they were once a pupil. It may be possible to arrange with a local school via a speculative application.
  • Keep up-to-date with what’s happening in Education via the Times Education Supplement and the Guardian’s Education section.
  • Apply early.
  • These interview tips are useful when preparing for the course interview. 

The Teach First Leadership Development Programme recruits high achieving graduates to work as teachers in some of the most disadvantaged schools in England and Wales.  Its 2 year programme combines this work with business skills training, internship and mentoring opportunities. At the end of the programme around 50% stay in the teaching profession in a leadership position, the other 50% are readily employed in a variety of business areas. 

The JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Programme is an official and prestigious Japanese government scheme that sends graduates to Japan in order to promote international understanding at grass-roots level and to improve foreign language teaching in schools. Although participants teach English to school pupils, applicants for the programme can come from any degree discipline providing they hold a full UK passport.  It is a tough application process that begins in the October preceding the departure the following summer. 

The TET (Teach English in Thailand) programme offers students and recent graduates a 9 week placement opportunity as a Teaching Assistant in Thailand. 

In Colleges: Further Education Colleges will sometimes hire people to teach without them having teaching qualifications. These teachers will often be expected to work towards a teaching qualification and will be expected to have other relevant (vocational) qualifications and experience to offer. Colleges list job vacancies on their own websites. You can find a list of colleges on the Department of Education Northern Ireland website. 

In Higher Education: University lecturers will normally be expected to have or be working towards a PhD. An Academic Career provides more information about this career route. Jobs and some PhD studentships can be found on More PhD opportunities can be found on


General Graduate Options

Approximately 50% of graduate vacancies are open graduates of any subject. Some may require some additional, specialist, post-graduate training but some do not. The list is extensive but includes fields as diverse as accountancy, IT, housing management and recruitment consultancy.