UK chemical engineers report 6 per cent pay increase

Paul Boughton

UK chemical engineers have reported modest pay increases across the board in new data published this week by the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE).

IChemE’s 2012 salary survey, which gathered data from more than 2,500 chemical engineers, reveals that overall trends in chemical engineering pay are positive, as salaries continue to rise.

The median salary for chemical engineers participating in the survey was £53,000/y compared with £50,000/y in 2010. The best paid sectors were unchanged with those working in the oil and gas production and oil refining sectors reporting the highest median salaries of £72,000/y (+15 per cent) and £63,800/y (+12 per cent), respectively. 

Chemical engineers working in the petrochemicals sector also reported a 10 per cent median pay increase from £55,000/y to £60,400/y.

The highest median salaries can be found in London (£62,000/y) closely followed by the South East (£60,725/y) and South Central (£59,600/y). Chartered Chemical Engineers also reported significantly higher salaries than non chartered counterparts.The survey results  reveal that Chartered Chemical Engineers continue to earn more than non-chartered equivalents at almost every stage of their career. A chartered professional in their thirties out earns a non chartered counterpart of the same age by around £10,000/y.

New entrants to the field area also well rewarded. Graduates starting salaries remain some of the most competitive across all disciplines in the UK, with a typical starting salary of £28,000/y. The number of students studying chemical engineering in the UK has doubled over the last decade. There are now a record number of students studying the subject with another bumper intake expected this September.

IChemE ceo David Brown says that the results are largely positive:  “Chemical engineering presents an excellent career opportunity across all of the sectors and the results show that chemical engineers still command real earning power.  We’ve always said that becoming a Chartered Chemical Engineer is evidence of both competence and commitment to the profession. This data shows that employers also continue to recognise the value of chartered status.”

The IChemE 2012 Salary Survey was conducted in January 2012 and incorporates salary data gathered from 2654 IChemE members in the UK and Ireland. The survey is conducted annually and is the largest of its kind in the chemical engineering profession.

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