Contrary to your statement, national statistics show new engineering graduates are significantly better paid than graduates of most other disciplines.
Average salaries for chartered engineers now approach pound;45,000 while the average starting salaries for 1998 graduates were in the region of pound;15,000.
Your description of an engineer using a drawing board and calculator is 40 years out of date. Professional engineers have been using information technology for design and communication since the invention of the modern computer, and as far as being "outside in all weathers", this is more likely to be behind the wheel of a company car, than in the rain.
Director, Engineers' Regulation
10 Maltravers Street