There are plenty of reasons why graduates and young professionals get into the railway industry. While the romantic vision of the railway as the only good way to see the United Kingdom has died down a lot over the last two generations, there are still young professionals enamored with the unique manner of rail travel. As well, the sheer magnitude of the rail industry in the United Kingdom offers a number of jobs for engineers and others looking for work. However, professionals and graduates that are interested in the railway industry should understand the financial benefits before committing to it as a career option. As with any profession, the most important number for young professionals is the annual salary. On average, jobs in the rail industry are on the higher end of traditionally "blue collar" jobs in the United Kingdom.
For example, surveys of 2005 salaries show that train drivers earn 34,000 pounds annually. This figure is the highest salary among "blue collar" professions and is competitive with "white collar" jobs like teaching and financial analysis. The reason why the annual salary for railway professionals is typically so high is that professional unions are able to negotiate consistent pay raises to meet cost of living increases. While an annual salary is important to every graduate as a gauge of a good job, there are plenty of benefits that come with a job in the railway industry. One of the most popular incentives provided by railway companies is performance-based enhancements.
These incentives offer professionals a stake in the success of the company, with quarterly and annual raises tacked onto annual wages dependent on overall company success. As well, individual performance incentives are common for train guards and drivers. Railway companies offer matching pension contributions for company pension plans.
While the contribution amount may be small on a weekly or monthly basis, these pension plans typically accrue interest and save money for retirement. Professionals are also given perks like annual paid leave, typically around four weeks' worth, which can be used at any point during the year. This type of leave is perfect for professionals with families or those who just need to get away from the rigors of the industry.
Finally, railway workers often get the benefit of discounted tickets for themselves and family members. These discounted fares can take the form of a regular percentage discount or a number of free fare tickets per month.
Mark Murphy, Business Unit Director for Wynnwith Rail, a leading provider of Railroad Jobs.