Job type

Automotive engineer

£20k - £45k

Typical salary

39 – 41

Hours per week

Automotive engineers design, develop and manufacture vehicles such as cars, motorbikes, buses and trucks

More info

  • Exciting and challenging work creating the vehicles we use every day
  • With experience, progress to senior engineer roles, project team management, or consultancy
  • You'll need excellent maths, IT and problem-solving skills

Working as an automotive engineer, you'll design new products and in some cases modify those currently in use. You'll be involved in creating vehicles like cars and motorbikes. You could specialise in any stage of the motor manufacturing process, from the development of the engine through to the final production stages.

The designs for the look and feel of a consumer vehicle might be created by an automotive designer, and then you would work on making them a reality.


You might work on:

  • Body, chassis and engine systems
  • Electrical and electronic instrumentation and control systems
  • Thermodynamics, aerodynamics and fluid mechanics
  • Fuel technology
  • Emissions

You might work in development:

  • Building and testing prototypes using computer simulations and physical models to assess components' strengths, weaknesses, performance and safety

Or production:

  • Planning the production run, including redesigning machine tools, equipment and processes to make new parts
  • Monitoring costs and production schedules
  • Overseeing quality control


You will typically be expected to work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, although some jobs may involve shift work, including evenings and weekends. You will usually work in an office, research facility or manufacturing plant, or split your time between these different environments.

You'll need

This role would suit someone who is great at problem solving, has practical and technical skills, and who is confident at maths and working with data.

You'll usually need a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree, before joining a company training scheme. Good subjects to choose to prepare for these courses include maths, physics and technology subjects.

Relevant subjects include automotive engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical or electronic engineering, design engineering, or manufacturing engineering.

A course with a work placement or an internship will be especially useful as you will build up your workplace skills and a network of industry contacts.

You could also get into this job through a manufacturing engineer degree apprenticeship or product design and development engineer degree apprenticeship.


As an automotive engineer, you'll be able to choose from a range of career options. It's possible to advance to supervisory engineer roles and senior positions within project team management, general management and consultancy.

You could also choose to move into a specialist career area, for example environmental design, and with experience and additional qualifications, could move into teaching or lecturing in colleges or universities.