This is an expanded version of an article that appeared in the June 2019 issue of Chemical Engineering Progress.
Chemical engineers continue to earn more than the average U.S. worker. The median salary of survey respondents is $126,000 — 1.6% higher than the median reported in 2017.
The results of AIChE’s biennial salary survey are in, revealing positive advances for the chemical engineering profession. The median annual salary of respondents to the 2019 survey is $126,000 — a 1.6% increase over the 2017 median of $124,000.
In comparison, the previous survey reported a 2.4% decrease in median salary between 2015 and 2017. The increase in median salary is part of an overall trend of rising salaries. In 2000, chemical engineers earned a median annual salary of $77,200 — since then, salaries have risen steadily. This development can be attributed to a variety of factors, including inflation and economic growth.
This year, we took a closer look at recent graduates, i.e., those entering the workforce in 2016, 2017, and 2018, in an attempt to understand the transition from student to young professional. The median starting salary for chemical engineers beginning their careers is $68,000, compared to a median salary of $72,000 for all respondents under the age of 26. On average, it takes recent graduates around five months to obtain employment after graduation.
Median salaries range from $71,000 for respondents with less than three years of experience to almost $165,000 for respondents with 40+ years of experience. Many other factors, including age, gender, education, and job function, influence salaries.
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