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Should i continue with Chemical Engineering degree watch

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    I'm studying chem eng in UK and considering switching courses due to the negativity surrounding jobs after graduating. Is this something i should i go through with?

    I study chem eng at aston uni but seeing a large amount people tell me how competitive it is for jobs with many unemployed, i am now wondering is it worth it as the degree is hard as it is so i am considering a career in something like optometry as healthcare have much more job security. I just wanted advice on what jobs are widely available for grads in uk for chem eng or what other alternative course/career path should i consider?
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    (Original post by qh18)
    I'm studying chem eng in UK and considering switching courses due to the negativity surrounding jobs after graduating. Is this something i should i go through with?

    I study chem eng at aston uni but seeing a large amount people tell me how competitive it is for jobs with many unemployed, i am now wondering is it worth it as the degree is hard as it is so i am considering a career in something like optometry as healthcare have much more job security. I just wanted advice on what jobs are widely available for grads in uk for chem eng or what other alternative course/career path should i consider?
    With any field you have to look for jobs, have a career path in mind and keep at it. Most people assume that jobs will just land in their laps after graduation which is not the case. You need to work your way up and get additional qualifications if needed. Go with what you enjoy.
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    There's really not a lot to say other than if you think a chemical engineering degree has poor employment prospects I fear you will never be satisfied with anything in life.

    However, it is a degree relevant to a vast majority of engineering sectors - there is no "chemical engineering sector" and chemical engineers do much more and work in many more areas than just the oil and gas industry. Equally, it's also an academically rigorous, numerate degree, meaning you can also apply to any "generalist" position as well. Business, finance, media, whatever. It's a degree, so you tick that box, and it's numerate, so they can't use that as a filtering mechanism to dump your application for e.g. finance roles. The world is your oyster, so to speak.

    Now if you specifically want to work in e.g. an allied health profession or perhaps some specialised bioscience lab based job then yes the ChemE course is not suitable for that. You need not necessarily work in that area - and if your only consideration is getting any averagely paying job, then you don't even need a degree to do that. Do an apprenticeship in administration, work in security, become a plumber or an electrician - there are in fact a lot of routes to a reasonably paying, as secure as can be expected in this day and age, job. Whether these are things you actually want to do is another question entirely - and it is certainly possible that you'll have to work in less desirable positions for a while to get to that point.

    But this is even true of getting a degree - when I was working in a call centre, probably about 30-40% of my colleagues had degrees, some being recent grads and some who had gotten one some time ago but simply couldn't find anything. These aren't even in "undesirable" subjects - one of my friends had a 2:1 in Physics with IT from a Russell Group uni, and ended up there because he couldn't find anything else. He ended up working there for about 4 years as an agent before ending up on a management/development track, and another 4 years or so on that before he actually got a job off one of the campaigns working as a developer for the contact centre itself.

    If you don't enjoy the course, then absolutely you should change to something else - if you genuinely have an interest in optometry beyond "I want a job" then certainly pursue that. This applies to any number of potential courses etc. Ultimately if you're only in it to get a job, you're probably going to find any subject "hard" not least because you have no real motivation for it. While I can appreciate engineering isn't an easy course in of itself, do bear in mind that even accounting for this, some of this difficulty may translate even if you change courses.

    Also even with e.g. optometry, pharmacy and similar courses, you still aren't just "handed" a job - although it may be easier to find one and less competition for them, you still need to get through the course and there is no guarantee. The only degree that you can be reasonably guaranteed a job at the end if you passed (in something) is medicine. Among degrees outside of medicine, engineering (any discipline, and within engineering I would wager chemical resides near the top along with EEE) ranks pretty highly for good job prospects.

    You may want to consider taking some time away from education and working for a while, thinking about what it is you enjoy and what you want to do long term. It would be better to figure this out before you use half your SFE entitlement and then have to work several years more after figuring out what you want to do in order to afford going back to uni as a self funded candidate
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    What would you switch too? Chemical is probably the worst of the engineering disciplines when it comes to employment but the main factor will be the individual. Get relevant experience and get involved with extra curriculars and you should be fine.
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    (Original post by Student-95)
    What would you switch too? Chemical is probably the worst of the engineering disciplines when it comes to employment but the main factor will be the individual. Get relevant experience and get involved with extra curriculars and you should be fine.
    Is it?

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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    Is it?

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    I was talking about employment rates, not salary.
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    (Original post by Student-95)
    I was talking about employment rates, not salary.
    ChemEng has a slightly higher unemployment rate but it's not hugely different compared to other disciplines. All are below 10%.
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    ChemEng has a slightly higher unemployment rate but it's not hugely different compared to other disciplines. All are below 10%.
    78% higher than general
    Double the unemployment rate that civil has
    24% higher than mech
    11% higher than aero
    26% higher than EEE
    88% higher than manufacturing

    Of those employed, chemical also has one of the lowest proportions of people working in engineering occupations.
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    (Original post by Student-95)
    78% higher than general
    Double the unemployment rate that civil has
    24% higher than mech
    11% higher than aero
    26% higher than EEE
    88% higher than manufacturing

    Of those employed, chemical also has one of the lowest proportions of people working in engineering occupations.
    Dropping ChemEng in favour of something else due to those stats makes little sense. Dropping it because OP doesn't enjoy it would be a valid reason.
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    Dropping ChemEng in favour of something else due to those stats makes little sense. Dropping it because OP doesn't enjoy it would be a valid reason.
    Depends on the circumstances. If OP is in first year and can switch to something else without restarting then they don't lose out on anything.
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    (Original post by Student-95)
    Depends on the circumstances. If OP is in first year and can switch to something else without restarting then they don't lose out on anything.
    But that's not the issue. If they want to change then fine, but using a few marginal unemployment stats in isolation isn't a valid reason to make that change.

    I mean, according to Unistats, Aston awards twice as many Firsts for ChemEng as they do for Optometry. Is that a reason to stay with ChemEng?
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    But that's not the issue. If they want to change then fine, but using a few marginal unemployment stats in isolation isn't a valid reason to make that change.

    I mean, according to Unistats, Aston awards twice as many Firsts for ChemEng as they do for Optometry. Is that a reason to stay with ChemEng?
    What's the reason to not change? It doesn't sound like they're particularly passionate about it and just care about getting a job.
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    (Original post by Student-95)
    What's the reason to not change? It doesn't sound like they're particularly passionate about it and just care about getting a job.
    And are they passionate about optometry? That's not the message from the OP.

    Anyway let's leave it to the OP to provide a bit more background
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    heavily skewed by O&G

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