Employment of chemical engineers is projected to grow 2 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations. Demand for chemical engineers' services depends largely on demand for the products of various manufacturing industries. The ability of these engineers to stay on the forefront of new emerging technologies will sustain employment growth.
Many chemical engineers work in industries that have output sought by many manufacturing firms. For instance, they work for firms that manufacture plastic resins, used to increase fuel efficiency in automobiles. Increased availability of domestically produced natural gas should increase manufacturing potential in the industries employing these engineers.
In addition, chemical engineering is migrating into new fields, such as nanotechnology, alternative energies, and biotechnology, thereby helping to sustain demand for engineering services in many manufacturing industries.
However, overall growth of employment will be tempered by a decline in employment in manufacturing sectors, including chemical manufacturing.
The need to find alternative fuels to meet increasing energy demand while maintaining environmental sustainability will continue to require the expertise of chemical engineers in oil- and gas-related industries. In addition, the integration of chemical and biological sciences and rapid advances in innovation will create new areas in biotechnology and in medical and pharmaceutical fields for them to work in. Thus, those with a background in biology will have better chances to gain employment. Chemical engineers should have favorable job prospects as many workers in the occupation reach retirement age from 2014 to 2024.
Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24
Total, all occupations
Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program