Find your purpose with a career in civil engineering

7 min read | Adam McGlead | Article | | Industry insights


There’s no better feeling than knowing your work will make a tangible difference to the lives of others. Having a sense of purpose can give you the motivation to get up in the morning and feel satisfied in your job.

Have you ever considered the purpose-driven nature of civil engineering work? Civil engineers help to tackle important social issues, including population growth, transport accessibility, water scarcity, food shortages and climate change. 83% of professionals working in civil engineering believe that an organisation’s purpose is an important consideration when looking for a new role, according to our latest Salary & Recruiting Trends guide.

We’ve interviewed Anthony Kitenge-Ngandu and Morisho Walingamina from Avove, a leading utilities infrastructure services and engineering company, about what they find the most rewarding about their roles and why they love working as civil engineers. We’ll explore:

  • What is most satisfying about working in civil engineering?
  • How do civil engineers work towards a net zero future?
  • Can civil engineers easily work overseas?
  • How diverse is the civil engineering sector?


Being able to see the physical outcomes of your work

There aren’t many professions where you can see the physical results of your hard work, but civil engineering is one of them. “It’s very rewarding to be involved with projects from beginning to end,” explains Morisho, “and see your work come to life. When I turn the tap on at home, I take great pride in knowing I played a role in getting the water there.”



Anthony finds his civil engineering role incredibly fulfilling. “I love seeing the results of my work,” he says, “I can point out my projects to my children as I’m driving them around, which makes me feel very proud.”


Working towards a net zero future is part of the role of a civil engineer

Increasingly, civil engineers are taking action to reduce embodied carbon in their projects to work towards a net zero future. Our salary guide shows that civil engineers care about their employer’s sustainability credentials, with 72% of professionals saying that an organisation’s commitment to sustainability is a key consideration when they’re job hunting.


“If you have a passion for helping others and driving positive change then you should consider a career in civil engineering.” (Anthony Kitenge-Ngandu)


Many civil engineers are driven to work for organisations that have a positive impact on the planet and local communities. “The reason I got into civil engineering,” Anthony says, “is because I wanted to pursue a career that can truly make a difference to people’s lives. If you have a passion for helping others and driving positive change then you should consider a career in civil engineering.”


The opportunity to bring your skills to other countries

For both Anthony and Morisho, using their expertise to improve the civil infrastructure in other countries is something that’s very important to them. “One of my career goals,” Morisho shares, “is to seize the opportunity to learn new skills and practices that could advance infrastructure in developing countries.”

“Coming from Africa,” Morisho continues, “I noticed how different the water treatment process is there – it’s often sourced straight from the lake or river. My plan is to learn more about the water industry through pursuing a career in civil engineering, then one day I hope to take my skills back to Africa where I can help improve their existing utilities infrastructure and processes.”



“My passion and the sense of purpose I have in my career was really heightened after a visit to Zimbabwe. At one point I witnessed children playing around an open sewer,” Anthony explains, “and this was when I realised that I could use my civil engineering experience to improve the lives of people – like those children – in different communities around the world.”

“Not everyone has the same opportunities in life, so I feel strongly about channelling my expertise into helping others and making a difference to society,” Anthony adds.


The importance of diversity in civil engineering

When it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) within civil engineering, Anthony notes that, “although steps have been made in recent years to improve diversity in the sector, there’s definitely more that can be done.” A greater representation of diverse talent is needed, in terms of gender, age, ethnicity and socioeconomic background, so that civil engineers are able to design utilities infrastructure that truly caters to the whole of society.


“Although steps have been made in recent years to improve diversity in the civil engineering sector, there’s definitely more that can be done.” (Anthony Kitenge-Ngandu)


Morisho believes that working with civil engineers from a broad range of backgrounds opens his eyes to different perspectives and helps him to see problems from other points of view. Anusha Shah, President of the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE), echoes this in our Building Futures: Career Conversations series. She trusts that her ICE appointment will open doors for women and people from different ethnic backgrounds to represent civil engineering at a senior level and she hopes she can act as a role model for others to follow in her footsteps.

Are you looking to pursue a purpose-driven career? Speak to one of our specialist consultants to find out how you can start your journey in the civil engineering sector, or alternatively take a look at our current civil engineering jobs in infrastructure today.


About this author

Adam McGlead – National Director for Civil and Infrastructure Recruitment, Hays

Adam joined Hays in 2022 and has over 15 years of experience in engineering recruitment, specialising in water, wastewater and environmental disciplines. He’s experienced in leading business development across the infrastructure sector and identifying growth opportunities within existing client portfolios, as well as spotting new opportunities for partnerships and client acquisition.

articleId- 67398425, groupId- 20151