Some chemical engineering professionals share there insights on the opportunities available for those that specialise in the profession. These are excerpts of the insights as shared by the US chemical engineers on AIChe website.
The most interesting of them was...
Responses varied considerably, but certain themes did seem to recur.
•A number expressed how broad-ranging the opportunities are for chemical engineers in general:
A ChE degree is still a great degree and allows for employment in a diverse range of fields and professions.
•But looking at more specifics, some pointed out that while there are jobs, graduates may want to consider seeking opportunities and advantages outside traditional areas:
Chem E grads continue to be well recognized over other engineering fields as excellent candidates for positions throughout manufacturing operations that are non-engineering and non-technical.
Chemical engineers are increasingly finding work in allied fields, rather than in traditional chemical engineering fields. I do a considerable amount of mechanical engineering and have for awhile, because I work for an electric utility. I also do a considerable amount of chemical engineering, specifically water purification. I think integrating skills from several fields is increasingly necessary.
•Meanwhile, when answers were more specific to an industry, it seemed clear that the past year was not easy for some. Multiple respondents expressed great concern over a downturn in oil and gas:
2016 was a tough year for the oil and gas market, and it did seem to affect the jobs in the area. Current employer was under a hiring freeze.
While some expressed an uptick in some areas for hiring among recent grads, more-experienced engineers pointed out cost-cutting—and sometime ageism—behind the new hiring, and signaled the importance of achieving a healthy work-life balance:
Companies are very cost conscious and will likely hire young to offset cost of aging workforce. Please inform the youth of the opportunity cost (e.g., work-life balance, sanity, etc.) versus success of gaining employment.
•Others saw hiring opportunities and specifically when job-seekers are flexible, such as available positions that require relocation:
Employment demand appears to be strong overall, though the specifics are changing. For example, if you change jobs you may have to change industries or geographic location to find a new position quickly or without pay reduction.
•At the same time, some saw opportunities going overseas due to employers' expressed cost constraints of hiring domestically:
A lot of EPC work is now being moved out of the US to low cost centers, such as India. The advent of cloud computing and new software technology allows much more outsourcing than was possible even a couple of years ago. Wages are depressed and many US chemical engineers have been layed off while the largest EPC companies are expanding abroad.