The 2023 AIChE Salary Survey Results Are In!

The 2023 AIChE Salary Survey results are now published in the June 2023 issue of Chemical Engineering Progress (CEP). The survey was deployed in December 2022, after a time of great disruption for the U.S. workforce driven by social change in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and rising costs of living. This ongoing movement, known as the “Great Resignation,” saw millions of Americans resigning from their jobs in search of higher wages, flexible remote work policies, and a better work-life balance. As a result, a key focus of this year’s Salary Survey is this movement and how it has impacted the chemical engineering community.

Median salary

The median salary for chemical engineers as reported in the 2023 Salary Survey is $150,000. This is an 8.3% increase from the median salary of $138,500 reported in 2021. This aligns with the overall positive trend in the salaries of chemical engineers seen over previous Salary Surveys. The median starting salary for new graduates — $74,500 — has also seen a 6.43% increase from 2021. Chemical engineers who graduated in 2020, 2021, or 2022 reported having found their first job in approximately 5.3 months on average.


Of our respondents, the majority hold a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. Out of those respondents who have received master’s degrees, 22% hold an MBA.

The Salary Survey found that 43% of respondents have obtained a bachelor’s degree as their highest degree obtained, while 31% have obtained a PhD. Depending on the highest degree obtained, the median salary of the respondents increases as those who reported having a PhD have a median salary of $165,000, while those who only have a bachelor’s degree as their highest degree see a median salary of $141,550.

Great Resignation

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 47 million Americans voluntarily left a job in 2021, compared to almost 36 million in 2020. Although it was expected that this number would decrease in 2022, over 50 million Americans followed suit that year. This significant increase in workforce turnover is a trend now commonly known as the Great Resignation. Spurred by social change resulting from COVID-19 as well as widespread job dissatisfaction, workers across the country are leaving their positions for improvements in quality of life, company culture, and work-life balance — and they are even willing to accept lower salaries to gain these improvements.

Although the chemical process industries have not been as affected by the Great Resignation as other fields (e.g., healthcare, education, and hospitality), they have not been immune. For example, the survey found that 17% of respondents have left a job in the past two years (2021–2022). When asked why they chose to leave their job, the majority of the respondents stated that they were seeking non-financial improvements, with some even opting for a lower paying job when looking for a new position.

More statistics

For more data and findings, AIChE members can read and view the results of the 2023 Salary Survey in the June 2023 issue of CEP Magazine, both in print and online. Members can also view supplementary information with their data tables online. The full survey results include the following, and more:

            • Median salary comparison adjusted for inflation

            • Median salaries of respondents by race, gender, age and experience

            • Median salaries by education level and supervisory responsibilities

            • Median salaries of respondents by industry category and job function

            • Median salaries of respondents by geographical location

To obtain exclusive access to the Salary Survey insights and member-only results, kindly renew your AIChE membership today.