The IChemE carried out a survey of over 2000 members in the UK and Ireland which found that overall, the medium salary for chemical engineers fell by 1% from £56 000 in 2013 to £55 500 in 2014. Previous surveys have shown significant increases in pay; between 2011 and 2013, median salaries had grown by 5.7%. However, data from the survey has shown that some sectors continued to report increases. Chemical engineers working in oil exploration and production saw their median salary increase from £71 000 in 2013 to £73 500 last year. The median starting salary for graduate chemical engineers entering the profession also saw an increase from 2013 rising to £30 000 from £29 500.
The survey has also once again highlighted a marked difference in median pay rates for fully qualified or chartered chemical engineers versus their non-chartered counterparts. As an example, IChemE has said that in the 30 – 34 age range, annual earnings for chartered chemical engineers outpaced those of non-chartered chemical engineers by 25% with median salary rates at £58 000 compared to £43 000.
The gender pay gap also remains evident with women attaining a median salary of £42 500 compared to £60 000 for men over a career lifetime. Between the ages of 30 and 50, female engineers are earning, on average 21% less than their male colleagues.
Andy Furlong, IChemE Director of Policy said, “chemical engineering remains an excellent career choice, both in terms of earnings potential and career opportunity. This latest survey reinforces the view that achieving chartered engineer status is fully recognised and highly valued by employers, with chartered chemical engineers earning significantly more than their non-chartered colleagues. Pay rates for chemical engineers are holding steady despite ongoing economic uncertainty and the dramatic drop in the oil price last year. Chemical engineers still command the best salaries as show by the continued increase in graduate starting salaries.
“More work is needed to close the gender pay gap and to support and promote female chemical engineers. Employers must address pay parity, equality and inclusion. IChemE is also working hard to promote the profession to school pupils, particularly girls, in a concerted attempt to redress the gender imbalance in engineering.”
Edited from press release by Claira Lloyd