How Much do Chemical Engineers Make? Chemical Processing Reveals all in 2008 Salary Survey

Is it a tragedy or comedy for engineers? Survey results peak behind the curtain of readers' salaries and job satisfaction

By Ken Schnepf, Managing Editor

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this year with equal numbers concerned and unconcerned about it.

There’s no lack of confidence in chemical engineers job security (Figure 4). Most respondents (51%) believe there is either no chance or a very slight chance that they  will be laid off within two years. Another 25% believe the chances of a layoff are slight, with 14.5% saying there’s a moderate chance, 2.8% believing it’s likely and 2.8% who say it’s very likely. However, respondents’ comments show a bit of uneasiness about the future.

Figure 4. Respondents were confident they wouldn’t face job loss.

Advice for the newcomers
Survey participants offered a lot of solid advice for those just entering the workforce. Their useful comments included: 

  • “Non-engineering aspects of the job, such as supervision, can be more stressful and challenging than any technical challenge you will face. And most likely your education will provide you with no training to deal with these kinds of challenges.”
  • “Do not think of yourself more highly than you should. If you assume that older engineers (who don’t use a Blackberry) or operators (who don’t have a college
    degree) are not valuable, then you are cutting yourself off from a support system that could help you to soar, or allow you to crash and burn alone. Just because you
    were top 10% in a top 10 school does not mean you know more than the high school graduate who has been observing the chemical process system for the last four years, or the older engineer who has already solved that energy balance and knows where the correction factors need to be applied and which instruments are not reliable.”
  • “Stay current, the field is continually evolving and there is a lot to learn. Visit the F.D.A. website, join the P.D.A. and/or I.S.P.E., read trade publications, talk to
    others in the field, etc.”

Winner of iPod

Figure 5. Most respondents aren’t worried about their job security.

A total of 1,078 respondents took part in this year’s survey. Lucinda Deichert,PDM process owner, Baker Petrolite, Sugarland, Texas, was randomly selected as the winner of a 80-GB iPod Classic offered by Chemical Processing for participating this year’s survey. “You’ve got a great magazine that I enjoy very much,” she said after being notified she was this year’s iPod winner. “Thank you for all the information you present monthly, and now for the iPod as well!”

We appreciate the answers and comments we received from all of this year’s survey respondents.

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