According to a recent salary survey by the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), graduate starting salaries are in the region of £29,500.
Prospects for higher earnings in the profession are good and median salaries for chartered chemical engineers reach around £70,000. Work in certain industries, for example oil and contracting, may attract salaries higher than this.
Salaries vary according to location, sector, size and the nature of the industry and are dependent on chartered status.
Working hours are typically 9am to 5pm, possibly with some extra hours. Jobs in processing and manufacturing may involve shift work, including evenings and weekends.
Work may take place in a lab, office or processing plant. Development work may progress from lab to plant or construction site, so travel may be required at certain stages of a project and clothing requirements, for example the need for safety clothing, may change.
Safety is a high priority in chemical and nuclear-based industries and hygiene is critical in food and drink production and water treatment.
Jobs are quite widely available and process plants are located in industrial areas throughout the UK (particularly Scotland, the Midlands, North West and North East England) and overseas.
Travel and overseas obligations depend on the sector and profile of the employing company. With many UK-based chemical companies, travel and overseas postings are only occasionally necessary, while overseas projects may be the norm if you work for a global manufacturer or consultancy.
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