Engineering Career Resources

Chemical Engineer Salary

Chemical engineers' salaries and hourly rates vary depending on job title, the nature and responsibilities of the job, sector, size of the employing company, location, and professional status. Experienced chemical engineers typically earn about £50,000 a year, while those with the status of chartered engineer make £60,000 or more a year, according to Prospects.ac.uk. Chemical engineers who are employed in the oil sector typically earn more, as do independent contractors. The salary range for chemical engineers employed in the chemical manufacturing industry is between £25,760 and £87,262, while engineers working in the oil and gas sector make between £22,306 and £81,445 a year.

Chemical engineers' salaries range from £24,037 to £56,472 a year on average according to Payscale. Engineers with 1 to 4 years of experience earn between £22,149 and £45,371 a year, those with 5 to 9 years of experience make between £25,702 and £54,134 a year, engineers with 10 to 19 years of experience make from £33,433 to £82,851 a year, and those with 20 or more years of experience earn between £34,800 and £65,500 a year. Chemical engineers working in London typically earn between £23,333 and £68,459 a year, while those with jobs based in Manchester make from £29,750 to £44,818 a year. Chemical process engineers earn between £25,314 and £54,833 a year.

Starting salary

The average starting salary for chemical engineers in the UK is £28,000 a year according to Prospects.ac.uk and £27,000 according to MySalary.co.uk. Chemical engineers with less than a year of relevant work experience typically make between £22,510 and £35,323 a year according to Payscale.

General salary information

For entry-level jobs, employers are increasingly selecting candidates with relevant work experience and often prefer those from their own placement schemes, which can be either extended placements or vacation placements. Candidates can usually get information about industrial placement schemes at their university departments.

Chemical engineering jobs are available throughout the UK, and employment concentration is particularly high in industrial areas in North East England, the North West, the Midlands, and Scotland. Overseas opportunities are available depending on the skill set and employer's profile. With global manufacturing companies and consulting firms, travel can be the norm.

Salaries and career progress usually depend on obtaining chartered status and on opportunities for continuing professional development (CPD). An academic degree is usually a factor: chemical engineers with a Bachelor's degree earn between £28,486 and £64,363, those with Bachelor of Engineering (BEng or BE) qualifications in chemical engineering make from £26,600 to £56,000 a year, and engineers with a Master of Engineering (MEng or ME) degree earn between £23,585 and £56,673 a year.

Chemical engineers typically obtain relevant work experience on a variety of projects, gain the status of chartered engineer, and then move to a different company. They can keep working on projects and eventually become project managers, or specialize in a single area of expertize which is in high demand in the industry, and then either move into research and development or to specialist management jobs. Another option is to move into one of the commercial areas and work in supply chain management, technical sales, finance, or IT.