Automotive engineer job description | targetjobs

Automotive engineer








Qualifications and training


Key skills

Automotive engineers are involved in the design, manufacture, distribution, marketing, sales and after-sales care of cars (including racing cars), motorbikes and other commercial vehicles. They work on aesthetics as well as technical performance and, increasingly, the electronics and software involved.

Typical duties include


  • assessing project requirements.
  • agreeing and negotiating project budgets, timescales and specifications with clients and managers, and keeping track of progress.
  • building prototypes.
  • organising and carrying out tests (eg to check whether engines will work in different conditions, such as high temperatures) and addressing problems revealed through testing.
  • interpreting and analysing results and data.
  • keeping up to date with safety and environmental legislation.
  • providing technical advice and answering queries from clients.
  • using specialist computer modelling software to produce designs.
  • making improvements to vehicles in response to customer feedback.
  • investigating and solving problems, eg mechanical failures.
  • working closely with suppliers.
  • supervising junior staff.

Graduate salaries

The UK Government reports that starting salaries for graduate automotive engineers tend to be around £20,000.

Typical employers of automotive engineers

While most automotive engineers are employed by vehicle manufacturers, other employers include:

  • tyre manufacturers
  • specialist vehicle design companies
  • research/test laboratories
  • motor sport teams
  • oil and fuel companies
  • suppliers.

Self-employment via consultancy and contract work is possible for individuals with several years’ relevant experience.

Vacancies are advertised online, such as on


, by careers services and recruitment agencies, in newspapers and in relevant publications and their online equivalents. Applications should be made early in the academic year, especially those to larger employers. There are also lots of opportunities with smaller engineering employers. Discover help for finding and applying for jobs with

smaller engineering companies here


For more applications help for engineering jobs, take a look at our

engineering CV and covering letter tips

and our advice on filling out online applications. And find out how much money you could earn as an engineer by reading our

engineering salary round-up


Qualification and training required

There are routes into the profession for both graduates and school leavers. Graduates will need a degree in a relevant subject such as automotive, mechanical or electrical engineering, production and manufacturing engineering, engineering design or physics. Some employers will ask for a 2.1 degree but others will accept candidates with a 2.2 degree. Take a look at our list of

engineering employers that accept 2.2 degrees


A postgraduate qualification may be necessary for some posts. A list of accredited courses is available on the Engineering Council’s website and you can read our

article on engineering postgraduate study

to explore your options.

Achieving chartered (CEng) status with the Engineering Council can help to demonstrate your professionalism and commitment to your field. To become chartered, you will need an accredited bachelors degree in engineering or technology, plus an appropriate masters degree (MEng) or doctorate (EngD) accredited by a professional engineering institution such as the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). You will also be eligible if you have achieved an integrated MSc. To find out more, take a look at our

guide to chartership


Key skills for automotive engineers

To become an automotive engineer, you will need:

  • effective technical and problem-solving skills
  • commercial awareness
  • good attention to detail
  • creativity
  • interpersonal and communication skills
  • presentation skills

  • analytical skills
  • good organisational skills
  • the ability to work as part of a team.

Next, read our article on

the skills engineering employers seek

to learn about how you can prove you possess these skills to engineering recruiters. Then take a look at our guide on

what to expect at engineering assessment centres

to find out how those skills will be tested.


Previous post How is 3D Machine Vision helping to Transform the Manufacturing Processes
Next post WACKER Confers Innovation Award for Optimized Polysilicon Manufacturing Process