Chemical engineering is a branch of engineering that applies the principles of chemistry, physics and math to the design, development...

Chemical engineering talent availability

Chemical engineering is a branch of engineering that applies the principles of chemistry, physics and math to the design, development and operation of chemical plants and processes. A career in chemical engineering can be extremely rewarding as it offers a chance to work with cutting edge technologies and solve complex problems. Chemical engineers are in great demand all over the world and they are well paid too.

Table of Contents

  • Location
  • Demand for chemical engineers
  • Popular roles and pay packages
  • Work Experience
  • Last word

The scope and demand for Chemical Engineers across India is on the increase. This has been boosted by the Government’s specific focus on the “Make in India” initiative. Chemical engineers constitute a fairly small sum of the total number of engineers in our country. The Education Ministry reports that after Mechanical Engineering, it is Chemical Engineering that is mostly in demand.

Although official data is not available, it has been seen that enrolment figures for Chemical Engineering have grown significantly in the last few years. While other streams like mechanical, electrical, civil and electronic engineering have shown fluctuating numbers, the enrolment for chemical engineering has shown a constant increase.

Data shows that the distribution of active talent by experience levels shows a steady intake of chemical engineers except for the last 2-3 years when it dropped. There is a prominent presence of senior talent with over 10+ years’ experience. Tech talent has had heavy attrition and hence there has been a huge demand for chemical engineers who have switched jobs in recent years.


A sizable number of chemical engineers are working in Mumbai, New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru and Pune. Ahmedabad has shown a greater demand for chemical engineers which is only ahead of Pune where the demand is also high. Also, the gender ratio in chemical engineers is skewed with about 80% being males Vs only 20% being female. This makes it a challenge to maintain diversity in this field.

Demand for chemical engineers

In the past decade, there has been about 80% growth in demand for chemical engineering talent. This is because there has been a growth of sectors like oil and energy, pharma and chemicals, process manufacturing, mining and metals, mechanical and industrial engineering which has driven the demand for this talent pool. Sectors such as biotechnology, environmental sciences, infrastructure and aerospace have also contributed to the growth of demand. The oil and energy, process manufacturing and research sectors in the Middle East, South-East and far-west are also consuming a lot of chemical engineering talent. India has several incentives for local manufacturing and its global positioning all help with rising demand for chemical engineers over China. Also the global push for renewable energy such as solar electric power, rechargeable batteries, nuclear and hydro is increasing the demand for chemical engineers in India.

For chemical engineers, the popular roles include process engineers, process managers, process design engineers, production engineers and production managers. You could also be a process safety engineer, plant operator, process analyst or a technical specialist. Typically, a chemical engineer can have an average starting salary of Rs.3 Lakh a year. However, for production engineers, design engineers and technical services and sales engineers, the salaries are higher than the average. The salary goes up with better experience and also graduates from certain pedigree colleges like IIT get better pay packages even at the entry level. An experienced professional could get more than Rs.10 Lakh a year.

Work Experience

Work experience is the sure method of getting first hand knowledge in chemical engineering. If you are unsure of which area within chemical engineering to work in, get an industrial placement and find out what is available. Such a placement can be a part of your degree or even as a summer internship. Industrial placements help build practical experience, skills and expand your knowledge. Work experience in pharmaceutical, petrochemical, food and drink industries are good options. Major employers of chemical engineers are in gas and oil extraction, oil refining, nuclear and power generation and process industry. Other industries such as fibres and polymers , plastic and metals, pulp and paper and toiletries are big employers of chemical engineering talent. Chemical engineers will also find employment in pollution control, environmental protection, energy conservation, waste recovery and recycling, alternative energy, medical science and health and safety. 

Last word

As a chemical engineer you can make a real difference by working on developing new technologies and products that have a real impact on people’s lives. There is low competition and high demand for chemical engineers as well as competitive compensation packages. Plus, there are a variety of job options to choose from. The demand for chemical engineers is poised for a growth spurt and is ready for take off.

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