Is it worth doing chemical engineering?

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SKhagrid
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#1
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#1
I am deciding on what sector of engineering I want to go in and chemical engineering and mechanical engineering has interested me the most. But I read somewhere that it is really hard to find jobs when graduating and that chemical engineering is dying out. The only jobs that are highly paid are the ones in oil and gas. All I want to know is that if Chemical engineering will be needed in the future and also if it's true that it's hard to find jobs and if I do would I still get high pay even if I don't join the oil and gas field
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0le
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#2
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#2
Chemical engineering will be needed in the future, for example maybe there will be some future jobs in battery cell technology. So I wouldn't rule out chemical engineering completely, but you will need to do more research into it. I would advise mechanical engineering over chemical for the reasons you discuss and just because mechanical seems to have a broader range of applicability in my opinion. Make sure the degree you do is accredited. This should be listed in the university website or you can check here: https://www.engc.org.uk/education-sk...ourse-search/:

Other people will have different opinions and may suggest chemical instead, so it really depends what you want to do at the end of it. Check indeed or reed and for chemical engineering jobs to get an idea.
Last edited by 0le; 2 years ago
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SKhagrid
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#3
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I am not even sure anymore
I have done so much for chemical engineering already like work experience and wrote my personal statement.
I researched a lot before but never came across these stuff.
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BigPenguin3
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#4
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#4
First year chemical engineering student here. The statistics are saying that the demand for chemical engineers is still increasing. With a chemical engineering degree you can work in so many different industries from nuclear to pharmaceutical. Check this out for more info https://www.topuniversities.com/cour...al/guide#tab=1 . If the demand for chemical engineers in the oil and gas sector is increasing then surely it increases in the nuclear or renewable energy sector. Yes the oil and gas sectors pay the most but they aren't the most secure sector due to the efforts of using renewable energy and also these resources are finite. However, at senior level in many sectors the average salary is high. A mechanical engineering degree is good to do too but for me seems to be quite competitive. Let us know what you decide to do.
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swelshie
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#5
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#5
It's not really enough to consider a career that is "not dying out". Graduate engineering is not worth pursuing, due to the intense competition for entry level jobs. Simple supply and demand. When the ratio of grads to jobs passes 2:1, you're lucky to gain employment at all, grateful to get starting salaries between £18-25k (far below the median wage for that age group fyi).

Of course there will always be jobs in oil and gas but again you're competing with thousands of people. As a recent grad, to achieve the higher salaries you are referring to takes a phenomenal effort. You would have to have gained experience in the specific sector and be top candidate in a lengthy grad scheme process. There are far better career choices where you aren't pitted against hundreds of suitably qualified people, of which the vast majority will have direct experience from work placements, relevant individual/group projects and extracurriculars as well as graduate level interpersonal, communication and leadership capabilities. For mechanical positions, O&G companies can filter their applicants by number of offshore placements for example (even one O&G placement itself is difficult to come by). The highest oil and gas wages come from living offshore on a rotating shift pattern.

If you can get a decent graduate job, yeah the whole process may have been worth it, but for most the effort put in does not reflect the outcome.
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peeked
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#6
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#6
(Original post by swelshie)
It's not really enough to consider a career that is "not dying out". Graduate engineering is not worth pursuing, due to the intense competition for entry level jobs. Simple supply and demand. When the ratio of grads to jobs passes 2:1, you're lucky to gain employment at all, grateful to get starting salaries between £18-25k (far below the median wage for that age group fyi).

Of course there will always be jobs in oil and gas but again you're competing with thousands of people. As a recent grad, to achieve the higher salaries you are referring to takes a phenomenal effort. You would have to have gained experience in the specific sector and be top candidate in a lengthy grad scheme process. There are far better career choices where you aren't pitted against hundreds of suitably qualified people, of which the vast majority will have direct experience from work placements, relevant individual/group projects and extracurriculars as well as graduate level interpersonal, communication and leadership capabilities. For mechanical positions, O&G companies can filter their applicants by number of offshore placements for example (even one O&G placement itself is difficult to come by). The highest oil and gas wages come from living offshore on a rotating shift pattern.

If you can get a decent graduate job, yeah the whole process may have been worth it, but for most the effort put in does not reflect the outcome.
Is this really the case as I was considering either medicine or engineering and I picked medicine (applying this year) so I guess I'm kinda glad I made that choice now
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SKhagrid
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#7
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#7
(Original post by swelshie)
It's not really enough to consider a career that is "not dying out". Graduate engineering is not worth pursuing, due to the intense competition for entry level jobs. Simple supply and demand. When the ratio of grads to jobs passes 2:1, you're lucky to gain employment at all, grateful to get starting salaries between £18-25k (far below the median wage for that age group fyi).

Of course there will always be jobs in oil and gas but again you're competing with thousands of people. As a recent grad, to achieve the higher salaries you are referring to takes a phenomenal effort. You would have to have gained experience in the specific sector and be top candidate in a lengthy grad scheme process. There are far better career choices where you aren't pitted against hundreds of suitably qualified people, of which the vast majority will have direct experience from work placements, relevant individual/group projects and extracurriculars as well as graduate level interpersonal, communication and leadership capabilities. For mechanical positions, O&G companies can filter their applicants by number of offshore placements for example (even one O&G placement itself is difficult to come by). The highest oil and gas wages come from living offshore on a rotating shift pattern.

If you can get a decent graduate job, yeah the whole process may have been worth it, but for most the effort put in does not reflect the outcome.

I'm really lost now
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GreenCub
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#8
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#8
A degree doesn't guarantee you a job. For engineering in particular, it's especially important to go to a good university and get as much industrial experiences/placements as you can. If I were in your situation, then I'd just apply for whichever type of engineering you find most interesting. Chemical engineering isn't "dying out" and there are lots of fields that you can work in besides oil and gas.
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BigPenguin3
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#9
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#9
(Original post by swelshie)
It's not really enough to consider a career that is "not dying out". Graduate engineering is not worth pursuing, due to the intense competition for entry level jobs. Simple supply and demand. When the ratio of grads to jobs passes 2:1, you're lucky to gain employment at all, grateful to get starting salaries between £18-25k (far below the median wage for that age group fyi).

Of course there will always be jobs in oil and gas but again you're competing with thousands of people. As a recent grad, to achieve the higher salaries you are referring to takes a phenomenal effort. You would have to have gained experience in the specific sector and be top candidate in a lengthy grad scheme process. There are far better career choices where you aren't pitted against hundreds of suitably qualified people, of which the vast majority will have direct experience from work placements, relevant individual/group projects and extracurriculars as well as graduate level interpersonal, communication and leadership capabilities. For mechanical positions, O&G companies can filter their applicants by number of offshore placements for example (even one O&G placement itself is difficult to come by). The highest oil and gas wages come from living offshore on a rotating shift pattern.

If you can get a decent graduate job, yeah the whole process may have been worth it, but for most the effort put in does not reflect the outcome.
What? You're saying as if there is no competition for other degrees and your starting salary range might of been as well £0-100k. Engineers do have a higher starting salary on average than other degrees apart from medicine. It might not be easy to get a graduate job straight away but isn't that the case for every degree? With an engineering degree you don't even have to work in industry and can take a different career path. However if you do want to work as a chemical engineer then a year in industry during uni is a great choice. Good luck.
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Magicdesignss27
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#10
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#10
Me too don’t know wether I should still apply for it or switch to finance, regardless competition is everywhere
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University of Bath
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#11
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#11
(Original post by SKhagrid)
I am deciding on what sector of engineering I want to go in and chemical engineering and mechanical engineering has interested me the most. But I read somewhere that it is really hard to find jobs when graduating and that chemical engineering is dying out. The only jobs that are highly paid are the ones in oil and gas. All I want to know is that if Chemical engineering will be needed in the future and also if it's true that it's hard to find jobs and if I do would I still get high pay even if I don't join the oil and gas field
Hi there - I am a 3rd year chemical engineering student at the University of Bath!

I know it can seem incredibly daunting to choose a degree - particularly when the degree you choose to do is 4/5 years long, meaning there is no way of predicting what the graduate job market will look like when you finish. I was in the same position as you a few years ago. I could not make my mind up on what I wanted to study - I considered and nearly applied for chemistry, natural sciences, medicine, other types of engineering... eventually settling on chemical engineering.

The most important thing you can do is make an informed decision. I think it's easy to be swayed by a few things you read on the internet, different people's opinions etc. but you should try and make your decision based on facts. Research thorougly into the potential jobs and sectors for both chemical and mechanical engineering and see what interests you most. Chemical and mechanical engineers can often work in the same sector but the roles they undertake are quite different. Chemical engineers tend to focus on the design of the overall process, what each unit in the process does, the inputs and outputs, how to make energy and cost savings etc. whereas mechanical engineering focusses on intricate design and operation of whatever it is they are involved in the design / manufacture of. As I am not a mechanical engineer am I not qualified to give too much detail on this, but I would say it is definitely more CAD / design heavy compared to chemical engineering. Chemical engineering can be quite difficult to define as it is so broad - make sure you do your research, have a look at the modules Universities offer and understand exactly what both degrees involve.

As I said before, it is difficult to predict how the graduate job market will look in 4-5 years time. Whether you study engineering or something else entirely, entry-level jobs are always more challenging to find and graduate schemes with big companies will always be competitive. This doesn't matter if you study chemical or mechanical engineering, or finance or STEM or something else. When I was choosing my degree, I definitely focussed a little too much on job prospects rather than what I would be studying and what the end applications would be. It is important to find a balance between the two and choose something you will enjoy studying and ultimately end up doing for a job!

I would not say chemical engineering is dying out. The sectors which chemical engineers is expanding and there are many jobs in renewable energy, sustainability, pharmaceuticals and other growing fields. Whilst oil and gas is the "original" chemical engineering field, it is by no means what you are limited to. At Bath we are taught a huge variety of modules which are relevant to both traditional and emerging sectors of chemical engineering. Many people also diverge away from engineering if they decide it is not for them, and the highly numerical skills you develop as an engineer makes you employable in many other sectors, too.

There are many things you can do whilst at University to boost your job prospects. Being involved in sports / societies and taking on leadership roles to boost your transferable skills is an invaluable addition to your CV. Additionally, one of the best things you can do is go on an industrial placement to gain real engineering experience - this will really help when it comes to graduate roles and make you stand out in the competitive market. Bath's placement scheme is excellent and placement team offer amazing support when it comes to helping you find and apply for placements, including interview preparation. For me, this was a huge factor in picking Bath as I wanted to be highly employable when I finished University and I knew a placement would go a long way to help with this.

Apologies for the long post but I hope it was helpful! If you have any questions please let me know Good luck with your decision making!

Leah
3rd Year Chemical Engineering
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Magicdesignss27
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#12
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#12
(Original post by University of Bath)
Hi there - I am a 3rd year chemical engineering student at the University of Bath!

I know it can seem incredibly daunting to choose a degree - particularly when the degree you choose to do is 4/5 years long, meaning there is no way of predicting what the graduate job market will look like when you finish. I was in the same position as you a few years ago. I could not make my mind up on what I wanted to study - I considered and nearly applied for chemistry, natural sciences, medicine, other types of engineering... eventually settling on chemical engineering.

The most important thing you can do is make an informed decision. I think it's easy to be swayed by a few things you read on the internet, different people's opinions etc. but you should try and make your decision based on facts. Research thorougly into the potential jobs and sectors for both chemical and mechanical engineering and see what interests you most. Chemical and mechanical engineers can often work in the same sector but the roles they undertake are quite different. Chemical engineers tend to focus on the design of the overall process, what each unit in the process does, the inputs and outputs, how to make energy and cost savings etc. whereas mechanical engineering focusses on intricate design and operation of whatever it is they are involved in the design / manufacture of. As I am not a mechanical engineer am I not qualified to give too much detail on this, but I would say it is definitely more CAD / design heavy compared to chemical engineering. Chemical engineering can be quite difficult to define as it is so broad - make sure you do your research, have a look at the modules Universities offer and understand exactly what both degrees involve.

As I said before, it is difficult to predict how the graduate job market will look in 4-5 years time. Whether you study engineering or something else entirely, entry-level jobs are always more challenging to find and graduate schemes with big companies will always be competitive. This doesn't matter if you study chemical or mechanical engineering, or finance or STEM or something else. When I was choosing my degree, I definitely focussed a little too much on job prospects rather than what I would be studying and what the end applications would be. It is important to find a balance between the two and choose something you will enjoy studying and ultimately end up doing for a job!

I would not say chemical engineering is dying out. The sectors which chemical engineers is expanding and there are many jobs in renewable energy, sustainability, pharmaceuticals and other growing fields. Whilst oil and gas is the "original" chemical engineering field, it is by no means what you are limited to. At Bath we are taught a huge variety of modules which are relevant to both traditional and emerging sectors of chemical engineering. Many people also diverge away from engineering if they decide it is not for them, and the highly numerical skills you develop as an engineer makes you employable in many other sectors, too.

There are many things you can do whilst at University to boost your job prospects. Being involved in sports / societies and taking on leadership roles to boost your transferable skills is an invaluable addition to your CV. Additionally, one of the best things you can do is go on an industrial placement to gain real engineering experience - this will really help when it comes to graduate roles and make you stand out in the competitive market. Bath's placement scheme is excellent and placement team offer amazing support when it comes to helping you find and apply for placements, including interview preparation. For me, this was a huge factor in picking Bath as I wanted to be highly employable when I finished University and I knew a placement would go a long way to help with this.

Apologies for the long post but I hope it was helpful! If you have any questions please let me know Good luck with your decision making!

Leah
3rd Year Chemical Engineering
When doing something like a epq do you have any ideas for topics in chemical engineering to research about ?
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University of Bath
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#13
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#13
(Original post by Magicdesignss27)
When doing something like a epq do you have any ideas for topics in chemical engineering to research about ?
Hi - thanks for your question!

This really depends on what you're interested in - have a think about what aspects of chemical engineering interest you the most and the kind of industries you might want to work. Then see what breakthroughs and problems those industries are facing at the moment or may face in the future and this might give you some interesting topics to look at!

I did my EPQ on the use of hydrogen in the energy industry, as I am interested in finding solutions to combat climate change and I had read and heard about the use of hydrogen, in particular at University open days.

Good luck!

Leah
3rd Year Chemical Engineering
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Adzzino.100
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#14
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#14
(Original post by SKhagrid)
I am not even sure anymore
I have done so much for chemical engineering already like work experience and wrote my personal statement.
I researched a lot before but never came across these stuff.
how did you find work experience?
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