Chem Engineering jobs... in the boondocks only?

<p>Hi all,</p>

<p>sorry to sound like a redneck hick (I am an international), but assuming most Chem Engineers work in plants, does that mean most fresh grads' jobs will be in the outskirts of the town?</p>

<p>I mean, it makes sense not to locate a big potentially-pollutive plant in the midst of a big city right? And after graduating, many among us would like to spend some time in an exciting big city.</p>

<p>There are plenty of Chemical Engineers who work in the Houston, TX and Baton Rouge, LA metropolitan areas. Houston definitely qualifies as a big city.</p>

<p>Most plants won't be located in the middle of a city, but if you are willing to make a commute you'll have a number of options regarding residence.</p>

<p>I would specifically like to work in Chicago, for the arts scene and food and all. Be honest please, things are not looking so rosy for a Chem E in the heart of the windy city? I can imagine they need the land space in big cities for more... lucrative purposes. LAGator, good idea. I suppose I should get used to driving maybe an hour or so into work then.</p>

<p>I am also afraid of speeding up the development of cancer if I worked in a plant :/ The chemicals and other exposure might make my cells divide wonkily earlier in life (it's a joke, sorta :))</p>

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sorry to sound like a redneck hick (I am an international), but assuming most Chem Engineers work in plants, does that mean most fresh grads' jobs will be in the outskirts of the town?</p>

<p>I mean, it makes sense not to locate a big potentially-pollutive plant in the midst of a big city right? And after graduating, many among us would like to spend some time in an exciting big city.

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<p>Many (probably most) Stanford and Berkeley chemical engineering students who actually take jobs in engineering (as opposed to consulting or banking) will take jobs in the semiconductor, advanced materials, or biotech industry in Silicon Valley in/near San Jose. Granted, San Jose may not be the most exciting city in the world. But it's certainly big and highly international, with ~40% of city residents being foreign-born. Many chemical engineers also work in the biotech/pharma cluster around Boston, which is an exciting and highly international city.</p>

<p>A lot depends on what you want to do with your ChemE degree. If you want to work at a big chemical plant or oil refinery, that likely won't be close to the heart of a big city (especially Chicago, where that stuff is mostly on the edges). However, there is a lot more ChemE's can do.</p>

<p>^ inspiring!</p>

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especially Chicago, where that stuff is mostly on the edges

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<p>Bonehead, do you mean that ChemE typical plant jobs are on the outskirts of Chicago? Or do you mean that ChemE manufacturing is not the main economic driver in Chicago? Thanks!</p>

<p>Probably both. There are large oil refineries in places like Joliet, which is a very large suburb. Most dirty manufacturing gets pushed to the edges of major metropolitan areas though. Near the city center, it is much more about finance or high tech jobs or other similar positions, which take up less space, lower the land value less, and polite less. In Chicago, with the huge footprint it has, it means that usually if you are planning to work in a big plant like that, you will be farther from the city center. If you are in a medium sized city (St. Louis, Indianapolis, etc) those kinds of jobs are generally more scattered and may be closer to the city center. I know, for example, that Eli Lilly has a huge manufacturing plant in Indy only a few miles from downtown, and Monsanto has tones of manufacturing just outside of St. Louis.</p>

<p>Chemical engineering is dead. Avoid this field like the plague.</p>

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<p>You are joking, right? If not, do you care to share with the rest of us exactly why it is dead? Seems pretty alive to me.</p>

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Chemical engineering is dead. Avoid this field like the plague.

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<p>Oh? Chemical Engineering offers the second highest starting salary of any undergraduate major. </p>

<p>Engineering</a> is the top earning college major : BiotechSector</p>

<p>Let's hear this guy from Toronto out. We've all heard at least once on CC how nearly each of the engineering fields offer no supposed future.</p>

<p>Employment</a> Outlook :: Chemical Engineering</p>

<p>Here is a link to chemical engineering magazine. This basically sums up my experience as well. Yes, a couple of people will get hired into the big firms (oil, etc, you know the ones). But there is choosier hiring. I think the myth is that people here operate under is that it will be EASY to find a job paying well in the big firms. When you see piles of rejection letters, it is a sobering reality. The truth is that for good starting operations position, there are a lot of candidates on the market and it is by no means easy to secure one of these positions.</p>

<p>This article touches on plant closures. Here in Ontario and eastern Canada, plant closures have been moving on a breathtaking pace. In the early part of one's career, your value as a chemical engineer is driven by how much plant experience you can get. Well, those opportunities are dwindling fast and the pace at which closures are happening. Getting good operations experience is more and more difficult. </p>

<p>This is why I would direct young talent away from chemical engineering.</p>

<p>"Oh? Chemical Engineering offers the second highest starting salary of any undergraduate major. </p>

<p>Engineering is the top earning college major : BiotechSector"</p>

<p>What is personal engineering and personal science? Are these custom majors that two guys made up at some college and got lucky, or what? I googled them and couldn't come up with anything.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Here is a link to chemical engineering magazine. This basically sums up my experience as well. Yes, a couple of people will get hired into the big firms (oil, etc, you know the ones). But there is choosier hiring. I think the myth is that people here operate under is that it will be EASY to find a job paying well in the big firms. When you see piles of rejection letters, it is a sobering reality. The truth is that for good starting operations position, there are a lot of candidates on the market and it is by no means easy to secure one of these positions.</p>

<p>This article touches on plant closures. Here in Ontario and eastern Canada, plant closures have been moving on a breathtaking pace. In the early part of one's career, your value as a chemical engineer is driven by how much plant experience you can get. Well, those opportunities are dwindling fast and the pace at which closures are happening. Getting good operations experience is more and more difficult.
.

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<p>Sure, but this is hardly a problem specific to chemical engineering. Look, we're in a global economic downturn, which means that jobs in all professions except perhaps bankruptcy lawyers have declined in availability. As the article pointed out:</p>

<p>Despite overall job losses in the chemical process industries (CPI), demand for creative chemical engineers with broad skill sets remain strong, which helps support higher salaries</p>

<p>This sounds like a dispute I used to have with certain other posters on CC who no longer post, and the bottom line is, you have to major in something as an undergrad. If you argue that young talent should be steered away from chemical engineering (or engineering in general) for a lack of attractive employment opportunities, then that begs the question: which major does? Are there really burgeoning and high-paying job opportunities for English majors? Or bio majors? If you want to argue business administration or economics, bear in mind that hundreds of thousands of white-collar management, finance, and strategy jobs have been eliminated, in some cases (i.e. in the retail banking industry) perhaps never to be recovered. </p>

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I think the myth is that people here operate under is that it will be EASY to find a job paying well in the big firms.

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<p>I disagree with that very premise. At least within the United States, the best-paying chemical engineering job opportunities have been with the small high-tech companies, even after controlling for industry and location. For example, it is well understood that Intel in Santa Clara does not pay its chemical engineers particularly highly, and that you would garner higher pay from one of the nearby small semiconductor firms in Silicon Valley. {To be clear, some such firms pay less, but there is such a proliferation of them that you are bound to find some that pay more.} Heck, frankly, they pay higher than do the oil refineries in Northern California.</p>

<p>Houston has an amazing arts scene and some great restaurants. Don't sell Houston short. Chicago is the 3rd largest US city and Houston is the 4th largest. But Houston doesn't have Chicago's brutal winters ;)</p>

<p>Chicago doesn't have Houston's brutal summers. ;-)</p>

<p>ha!</p>

<p>I am wondering what is worse, Chicago's winters or Houston's summers?</p>

<p>could be a tie</p>

<p>Chicago is a YFYAONMW type of town*</p>

<p>and</p>

<p>Houston is a OBAYSW type of town**</p>

<p><em>You freeze your a</em>* off no matter what
**One block and you're soaking wet</p>

<p>As someone who has spend time in and lived near both cities, I can say I prefer Houston, but that is largely because I just can't stand the general atmosphere of Chicago. So many people I went to school with had this air of superiority about them and it really just rubbed me the wrong way. I haven't been around Houston as much so maybe that is the difference, but I can honestly say that I am not that impressed by Chicago. Also, the Cubs.</p>

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<p>More than enough reason to avoid Chicago at all costs.</p>

<p>Yeah, and then factor in the Bears and Blackhawks, too, and there is no reason to ever go there except to get some great pizza once and a while and to pay the requisite visit to my fiancee's family.</p>