"A Chemical engineer is responsible for the management, application and development of various processes and uses of different chemicals and products."
A Chemical Engineer can be found working on a range of projects in the field, from managing the uses, applications and management of chemicals ranging from oil and gas right through to polymers and the development of new materials and their uses. As is the nature of chemical engineering, starting a career in the field for graduates can be extremely varied, with graduates being involved in anything from research and development of new materials and chemicals or the managing uses in the natural world, such as with oil or gas.
Because of the broad range of specialities in chemical engineering, graduates looking to pursue a career in the field have many options open to them. There are always shortages of these graduates with the proper understanding of STEM subjects and this can lead to many vacancies for Chemical Engineers in the Energy and Utilities, Science and Technology or Research and Analysis sectors. There are also vacancies for things like Process engineers, a different field of chemical engineering, where they can be part of setting up chemical plants and systems.
For graduates looking for a career in the field, the most important thing for them to have is an understanding of chemistry and science more broadly. This could be from a Chemistry, Physics or engineering related degree.
Alongside this expert knowledge, employers are looking for graduates that have work place skills that will help them apply their knowledge and understanding. This will be things like team work, excellent analytical skills for reviewing results and high levels of organisation.
Chemical Engineer Salaries
The average starting salary for a Chemical Engineer is £24,083. This is comparable with similar positions in similar fields of Engineering, like Civil Engineering or Electrical Engineering. And like these fields of engineering, Chemical Engineers can watch their salaries grow quickly as they become more experienced and specialise in particular areas of Chemical Engineering.
Also like these fields of Engineering, Chemical Engineering companies are always looking for graduates with the appropriate skills and knowledge and are coming up short. This means employers are prepared to pay top dollar for graduates coming into the field, in an attempt to tempt Chemical Engineering graduates from exploring careers in the City.
The Daily Duties of a Chemical Engineer
As graduate Chemical Engineers are relatively blank slates with the necessary understanding when they first start out, they are usually required to specialise in an area when they join a company. Chemical Engineers however usually have similar duties that vary only slightly company to company. Here are a few of the duties that graduate Chemical Engineers can expect to be doing when they start their careers:
- Analysing processes - Chemical Engineers are often the go-to source for expert understanding of chemical production and management. This can require graduates to examine and assess the processes at plants, how they can be improved and made more efficient. So graduate Chemical Engineers need to have a problem solving edge to their expert knowledge.
- Designing and developing new products - Based mainly in laboratories, graduate Chemical Engineers would play their part in developing new products or chemicals. This could be in a range of sectors, whether it is the Energy sector or the Food and Drink sector.
- Monitoring and installing equipment - As the expert, graduate Chemical Engineers are responsible to ensure that plants and processes are safe and the equipment that is being used to process chemicals is also safe and well maintained.
- Working with other engineers - Chemical Engineers often work in larger teams that consist of process engineers and Materials engineers. This is often a team effort and can require team working skills and effective communication to ensure work is conducted safely and efficiently.
Chemical Engineering is an exciting career prospect for graduates with the understanding and skills to succeed. They can work on ground breaking projects and make a difference to the lives of everyday people. A career as a Chemical Engineer requires graduates to not only have incredible scientific understanding but also the problem solving, team working and analytical skills to put this understanding in to practice.