Civil Engineering Jobs Abroad

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A Guide to Civil Engineering Jobs Abroad

Job hunting is already a difficult process, and searching for a civil engineering job is almost as difficult as taking a class about the “mechanics of fatigue and fracture.” Yikes! Obtaining a civil engineer job abroad will help broaden your pool of options and opportunity, as well as equip you with an international perspective of how to put the hammer to the nail. Civil engineering job opportunities come in all shapes and sizes, whether that means helping a village in Mongolia refurbish a hospital or assisting the Chilean government with the construction of a bridge. 

Why Work Abroad in Civil Engineering

As a civil engineer, the job market is wide-ranging and the demand for people within the field is high. By taking your talents abroad, you can experience life in other countries with permanent/semi-permanent jobs, overseas projects, or short work trips. On top of having a great experience working abroad, you’ll be able to show on your resume that you have the motivation and adaptability needed to work on international civil engineering projects.

There is a need for innovators, builders, movers, and shakers all across the globe, not only in your backyard. Get involved in the development of physical buildings and constructs, tangibly help advance technology, and get the one-up on all of your buddies back in the Engineering Science Building. What you’ll gain from civil engineering jobs abroad is what domestic civil engineers lack: perspective.


Civil engineering jobs abroad are abundant and always in constant demand. Infrastructure is always in need, especially in countries that are still undergoing mass development, such as China and Brazil. If you were to close your eyes, take your finger, and point to a random location on a map, that destination would (almost) surely have a flowing job market for civil engineers. 

Now, depending on your skillset and concentration preference, you could start to filter out the countries that may not have a demand for your specific skill. Both China and Japan have the highest percentage of technology use and are full of new technological start-ups that are just hungry for new engineers to recruit. China and Japan are both fantastic places to work abroad as a civil engineer if you have an interest in development and infrastructure, because both countries are still undergoing modernization and have fast developing economies. 

Down in South America lies the home of the Pedro de Valdivia Bridge and the Juan Pablo II Bridge, also known as Chile. Did you know that the snowboard itself was invented by an engineer? Feel free to convince yourself that your weekends on the slopes are technically civil engineering work or research. Most of the civil engineering work that needs to be done is located in Santiago or Valparaiso, as those are the two largest cities undergoing the most construction projects. Along with having a lot of foreign investment and start-ups on the rise, civil engineers who work abroad in Chile will have the chance to learn Spanish in a professional setting, making them even more valuable to companies back home. Sure, civil engineers know how to work hard, but they play even harder. After a long day of work you can enjoy Chile for what it’s best known for, some of the best outdoors sights, such as Easter Island and the Valle de la Luna.

Ever wonder how the Dark Lord Sauron managed to build that sweet, towering fortress in Middle Earth? We do, which is why we suggest all civil engineers check out job opportunities in New Zealand. Excellent craft beers, even better surfing, and breathtaking hikes are just a couple of things that civil engineers can squeeze into their busy schedule. In the capital city of Wellington, gale-force winds from the geographical fault line may seem like a living nightmare for 99.9 percent of the population, but civil engineers view this as their calling; it is a challenge they are willing take.

Civil Engineering Jobs Abroad

For the most part, there are two types of civil engineering jobs around the world: consulting and contracting. A civil engineer who is a consultor mainly advises and designs projects, while a contractor will not only design a project, but transform it into reality and maintain the structure once it’s finished.

Typically, consulting jobs for civil engineers are reserved for those who have several years of experience under their belt, and at least a master’s in engineering accredited by the Institution of Civil Engineers. This is because consultors usually take a lead role in projects and direct the team on what to do. Consulting civil engineering jobs abroad are usually available in larger cities and on larger scale projects, which tend to recognize and require more qualified consulting. 

Contractors are needed all over the globe, regardless if the civil engineer is a recent college graduate or well known as the Father of Bridges. For those who are interested in more of the humanitarian need around the world, small towns and villages seek contractors to help build and maintain the bridges and roads or manage other basic infrastructure projects. Contractor positions for civil engineers abroad are best for those who are ready for a tough adventure and are willing to really push their limits on what they’re comfortable with in terms of culture and amenities.

Benefits & Challenges

As with any situation when working abroad, there are certain obstacles that civil engineers will need to overcome. When working abroad in civil engineering, most obstacles will be work related, as standards and/or practices will be different than back home. However, keeping an open mind and having the willingness to learn will be a major key to success in any civil engineering job abroad. 

Most civil engineers go through very rigorous training and get used to very strict standards that shouldn’t be deviated from for any reason throughout their career. While working abroad as a civil engineer, you may learn very quickly that some things are valued higher than others. This type of culture shock can be pretty intense for civil engineers, as it may involve safety issues. However, these situations provide civil engineers with the opportunity to raise the issue with the team onsite, work through it, learn from the experience, share knowledge, and have something great to discuss in future job interviews to prove their immense problem solving skills

Another challenge that many civil engineers face while working abroad is language barriers. Trying to construct an entire bridge without knowing the language of their host country will definitely be harder than attempting charades with a foreign waiter because, no, you don’t want the “special sauce” on your pasta. However, this shouldn’t be viewed as an immovable object, but rather as an opportunity to expand intellect and learn another language! Time and again, those who work abroad say that time spent learning the language directly resulted in a better and more productive experience at their job. Another perk is the new addition to the resume and LinkedIn; the phrase “proficient in (insert foreign language here)” always sparks an interest with employers. Those who are bilingual also tend to have a higher pay rate than those who aren’t, so the added skill really can’t hurt you. 

So, ready to send your resume overseas? Working as a civil engineer abroad is the best way to gain international connections, provide a real impact on infrastructure and building projects in other countries, and widen your opportunities for gaining new skillsets. Stack your resume to even greater heights and build on your future because at the end of the day, only a civil engineer has the power to physically look at their work and show the local community what they’ve done to provide better living situations for others. 

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Banner Report 2018

A Guide To
Civil Engineering Jobs Abroad


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