Salary in motorsports engineering

Engineering in motorsports: what salary can you command?

Chris Mapp of FMC Auto Innovation
Chris Mapp, Director and FMC Auto Innovation Team Leader at FMC Global Talent

In the past 10 years we’ve seen a huge shift in salary levels for engineers working in the motorsports space. Not only that, but the increased competition for talent and the investments being made in new technologies and electrification have meant that some salaries have increased by as much as 40% over the past few years.

It’s the same story across the UK, Europe and North America, although salaries do vary from location to location. Here’s a run down of exactly what you could be earning as an engineer in the motorsports space.

Electronics Engineer£64,000£48,000 (€56,000)£85,000 ($111,400)
Electrical Engineer£58,000 £47,000 (€54,900) £68,000 ($79,400)
Mechanical Engineer £51,000 £43,000 (€50,200) £56,000 ($65,400)

Why are electronics engineers paid the most?

Electronics engineers are currently paid more than their mechanical counterparts due to, quite simply, supply and demand! More of them are needed than exist in the market, so they can command a premium.

It’s also important to consider what exactly these engineers do. There’s always been a need for electrical architecture in cars – from working the radio to getting the lights to turn on. All these things work in ‘normal’ cars because of the electrical architecture or ‘wiring looms’. This has been an integral requirement in making cars for 30 or more years now, so the role of the electrical engineer is well established and will continue to be so.

The electronics engineering side, however, is evolving at a huge pace due to the huge push for electrification. Whilst control electronics (e.g. indicators) and power electronics do currently exist in some form, the power electronics required to make an entire car move is far more complex. This is new technology for the automotive world, although it has been around for longer in other sectors (such as aerospace and defense). This has created the high demand for electronics engineers as well as meaning everyone is trying to upskill in this area.

Why are salaries different across the different locations?

Some would say that salaries in the USA are higher because of the presence of Tesla, who have led the drive for electrification over the last decade. However, when comparing overall packages rather than just basic salary, the gap isn’t as big as it first appears.

Whilst engineers can command higher salaries in the USA, their wider benefits are often poor in comparison to what is offered in the UK/continental Europe. For example, where engineers in the UK can expect anywhere between 20- and 25-days annual leave (plus statutory), 10 days holiday is the norm in the US.

This gap will most likely narrow over time, with European salaries creeping up to match those in the US. We’re also beginning to see some companies in the US improve their wider benefits package so these too may become more aligned.

Interested in more insight?

For more information on the impact electrification is having on the motorsport world, download our latest insight report here!