Economics / Training

2017 Salary and Job Satisfaction: It’s Not All Roses

Survey shows many positive results but also some areas of concern

By Amanda Joshi, Managing Editor

Get ready for good news. The chemical industry should see steady growth this year and well into 2018, according to several reports. For instance, Thomas Kevin Swift, chief economist of the American Chemistry Council, a group whose members include leading chemical manufacturers, offers an upbeat assessment. In his annual economic outlook, “American Chemical Makers Fly Higher,” he reported that output of chemicals will expand over the next two years, and as a result, employment in the chemical industry will rise, growing from 803,000 in 2014 to 833,000 in 2018. The industry should gain about 35,000 high-paying jobs by the end of the decade. Furthermore, retiring of baby boomers will make the need to attract and retain talent paramount.

Another upbeat prediction comes from a recent survey of more than 10,000 people at chemical and other process manufacturers, equipment suppliers, and design/engineering firms by the organizers of the biennial Chem Show. In that survey, 82% of respondents expect their sales to increase this year, with 69% additionally rating the 2017 business climate as either good or excellent.

Such positive sentiments extend beyond the prospects of companies. Chemical engineers who participated in our latest annual Salary and Job Satisfaction survey indicated that salaries, raises and bonuses all edged up, and staffing levels also swung upward.

One happy engineer stated, “I feel like I am adequately compensated for the hours that I work and the freedom that I receive.”
“I believe my total compensation package, including salary, bonus and benefits, is above average and helps motivate my performance,” added another.

But we also learned you can't please everyone.

“[My job is] adequate for role description but additional work outside defined role not adequately recognized or rewarded,” noted one respondent.

“Good bonus program but raises are few and low. Good performance is not necessarily rewarded,” echoed another.

“No recognition, no pay increases, yet the company claims profits in the $250 million plus range each year. No advancement, and extremely arrogant company executives. 60%, 5-year turnover rate. Wish age discrimination laws in this country had some meat to them, if so, many of us older workers would be far better off,” griped one unhappy employee.

To help you navigate your own career path, we’ve once again published the results of our annual salary and job satisfaction survey. Inside this PDF, which contains several exclusive charts and comments that don’t appear in the print issue, you will find analysis and data on myriad topics including:

•Average Salary Earned
•Job Security
•Average Raises Earned
•Hours Spent At Work
•Job Satisfaction
•What’s Bothering Engineers


Get Full Survey Results