Chemical and Materials Engineers

ANZSCO ID 2331

Overview

Snapshot

Employed
3,400
Future Growth
7.7%
Weekly Earnings
N/A
Full-Time Share
88%
Female Share
20%
Average age
38

Summary

Chemical and Materials Engineers design and prepare specifications for chemical process systems and the construction and operation of commercial-scale chemical plants, supervise industrial processing and fabrication of products undergoing physical and chemical change, and investigate the properties of metals, ceramics, polymers and other materials and assess and develop their engineering and commercial applications.

Tasks

  • preparing designs for chemical process systems and planning control systems for processes such as those used to remove and separate components, effect chemical changes, test and evaluate fuels, transfer heat, and control the storing and handling of solids,liquids and gases

  • monitoring the operation and maintenance of equipment to achieve maximum efficiency under safe operating conditions

  • ensuring correct materials and equipment are used and that they conform to specifications

  • diagnosing malfunctions in chemical plants and instituting remedial action

  • studying product utilisation and pollution control problems

  • reviewing plans for new products and submitting material selection recommendations in accordance with design specifications and factors such as strength, weight and cost

  • planning and implementing laboratory operations to develop new materials and fabrication procedures for new materials to fulfil production cost and performance standards

  • conferring with producers of materials, such as metals, ceramics, polymers, cements and elastomers, during the investigation and evaluation of materials suitable for specific product applications

  • reviewing product failure data and implementing laboratory tests to establish or reject possible causes, and advising on ways to overcome any problems

Characteristics

Job Type
Professionals
Skill Level
Very high skill
ANZSCO Occupation group
Unemployment Rate
Below average
Industries
Pathway(s)
  • University
Interests
  • Practical
  • Analytical
Physical Demand
  • Sedentary
  • Light

Outlook

Employment Outlook

JSA produces employment projections to show where likely future job opportunities may be. The latest data are for the five years from November 2021 to November 2026. Over this period, the number of workers:

  • is expected to grow moderately
  • is likely to reach 7,600 by 2026.
  • Source: Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections to 2026.

    Notes: The number employed includes people who work in this occupation as their main job. People who work in more than one job are counted against the occupation they work the most hours in.

    Employment projections figures are rounded to the nearest 100. Calculations based on these rounded figures may result in differences to the numbers that are displayed on this page. Employment projections data (including occupations) can be downloaded from the Employment Projections page.

Projected Change
7.7%
(or 500 jobs)
From
7,000
in 2021
To
7,600
in 2026

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, ABS seasonally adjusted data to November 2021 and Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections to 2026.
Year Employment
2011 7,200
2012 5,600
2013 3,300
2014 5,900
2015 6,500
2016 4,700
2017 6,300
2018 6,700
2019 5,600
2020 7,100
2021 7,000
2026 7,600

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, ABS seasonally adjusted data to November 2021 and Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections to 2026.


Earnings and hours

Working arrangements

  • Around 88% of people employed as Chemical and Materials Engineers work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 22 percentage points above the all jobs average (66%).

    Full-time workers work an average of 44 hours per week in their main job. This is the same as the all jobs average.

    Sources:Full-time share and full-time hours: ABS, 2016 Census, customised report. Compared to the all jobs average.


Industries

Main industries

1
Manufacturing
34.0%
2
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
32.1%
3
Mining
20.8%
4
Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services
5.7%
5
Other industries
5.7%

Regions

Employment across Australia

NSW

24.2% All occupations: 31.6%

VIC

27.1% All occupations: 25.6%

QLD

17.7% All occupations: 20.0%

SA

5.6% All occupations: 7.0%

WA

23.4% All occupations: 10.8%

TAS

1.1% All occupations: 2.0%

NT

0.6% All occupations: 1.0%

ACT

0.3% All occupations: 1.9%

Employment by State and Territory (% Share)

State Chemical and Materials Engineers All Jobs Average
NSW 24.2 31.6
VIC 27.1 25.6
QLD 17.7 20.0
SA 5.6 7.0
WA 23.4 10.8
TAS 1.1 2.0
NT 0.6 1.0
ACT 0.3 1.9


  • Around 74% of Chemical and Materials Engineers live in capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 62%.

    Western Australia has a large share of employment relative to its population size.

    Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian states, territories and regions, in this job compared to the all jobs average.


Worker profile

Age and gender

Age In Years
38
All Jobs Average is 40
Female Share
20%
All Jobs Average is 48%
  • The median age of Chemical and Materials Engineers is 38 years. This is similar to the all jobs average of 40 years.

    A large share of workers are aged 25 to 34 years.

    Females make up 20% of the workforce. This is 28 percentage points below the all jobs average of 48%.

    Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile and gender share compared to the all jobs average.

Age Profile (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age Bracket Chemical and Materials Engineers All Jobs Average
15-19 0.0 5.0
20-24 7.1 9.3
25-34 33.0 22.9
35-44 25.6 22.0
45-54 19.8 21.6
55-59 6.5 9.0
60-64 4.5 6.0
65 and Over 3.5 4.2
Median Age 38 40

Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.


Employment Pathways

Education, training and experience

A bachelor degree in materials, chemical, biochemical or process engineering is needed to work as a Chemical or Materials Engineer. Many workers have a postgraduate qualification.

Registration may be required in some states and territories. In addition, Engineers Australia has a non-compulsory National Engineering Register.

Visit

  • Course Seeker to search and compare higher education courses.
  • ComparED to compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes.

Highest Level of Education (% Share)

Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Type of Qualification Chemical and Materials Engineers All Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate 27.7 10.1
Bachelor degree 62.2 21.8
Advanced Diploma/Diploma 2.8 11.6
Certificate III/IV 3.0 21.1
Year 12 3.8 18.1
Year 11 0.1 4.8
Year 10 and below 0.3 12.5

Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.


Skills and Knowledge

Employers look for Chemical and Materials Engineers who can work well in a team, communicate clearly with a diverse range of people and provide good customer service.

Skills

Skills can be improved through training or experience.

  • 77%

    Science

    Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

  • 70%

    Mathematics

    Using maths to solve problems.

  • 68%

    Operations analysis

    Understanding needs and product requirements to create a design.

  • 66%

    Critical thinking

    Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.

  • 66%

    Judgment and decision making

    Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.

  • 64%

    Active learning

    Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.

  • 64%

    Reading comprehension

    Reading work related information.

  • 64%

    Systems evaluation

    Measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it.

  • 63%

    Complex problem solving

    Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.

  • 63%

    Systems analysis

    Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect it.

  • 63%

    Monitoring

    Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.

  • 59%

    Active listening

    Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.

  • 57%

    Speaking

    Talking to others.

  • 57%

    Writing

    Writing things for co-workers or customers.

  • 55%

    Troubleshooting

    Figuring out why a machine or system went wrong and working out what to do about it.

  • 54%

    Operation monitoring

    Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.

  • 54%

    Time management

    Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.

  • 52%

    Coordination with others

    Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.

  • 52%

    Instructing

    Teaching people how to do something.

  • 52%

    Learning strategies

    Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.


Knowledge

These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

  • 94%

    Engineering and technology

    Use engineering, science and technology to design and produce goods and services.

  • 84%

    Chemistry

    Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change.

  • 82%

    Mathematics

    Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

  • 77%

    Physics

    The physical laws of matter, motion and energy, and how they interact through space and time.

  • 74%

    Technical design

    Design techniques, tools, and principles used to make detailed technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.

  • 71%

    Production and processing

    Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and ways of making and distributing goods.

  • 65%

    Administration and management

    Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.

  • 65%

    Computers and electronics

    Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

  • 64%

    Mechanical

    Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.

  • 64%

    Education and training

    Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

  • 60%

    English language

    English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

  • 59%

    Biology

    Plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, how they rely on and work with each other and the environment.

  • 52%

    Public safety and security

    Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.

  • 52%

    Customer and personal service

    Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.

  • 47%

    Law and government

    How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.

  • 46%

    Personnel and human resources

    Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.

  • 46%

    Sales and marketing

    Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.

  • 45%

    Economics and accounting

    Economics and accounting, the financial markets, banking and checking and reporting of financial data.

  • 44%

    Clerical

    Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.

  • 37%

    Communications and media

    Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.


Abilities

Workers use these physical and mental abilities..

  • 73%

    Oral comprehension

    Listen to and understand what people say.

  • 71%

    Written comprehension

    Read and understand written information.

  • 70%

    Categorising

    Come up with different ways of grouping things.

  • 70%

    Deductive reasoning

    Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.

  • 70%

    Oral expression

    Communicate by speaking.

  • 66%

    Inductive reasoning

    Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.

  • 66%

    Sorting or ordering

    Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).

  • 64%

    Problem spotting

    Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.

  • 64%

    Originality

    Come up with unusual or clever ideas, or creative ways to solve a problem.

  • 64%

    Working with numbers

    Add, subtract, multiply, or divide.

  • 61%

    Mathematics

    Choose the right maths method or formula to solve a problem.

  • 61%

    Written expression

    Write in a way that people can understand.

  • 59%

    Near vision

    See details that are up-close (within a few feet).

  • 59%

    Visualization

    Imagine how something will look after it is moved around or changed.

  • 55%

    Brainstorming

    Come up with a number of ideas about a topic, even if the ideas aren't very good.

  • 52%

    Flexibility of closure

    See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.

  • 52%

    Far vision

    See details that are far away.

  • 50%

    Perceptual speed

    Use your eyes to quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.

  • 48%

    Speech clarity

    Speak clearly so others can understand you.

  • 46%

    Selective attention

    Pay attention to something without being distracted.


Activities

These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.

  • 82%

    Keeping your knowledge up-to-date

    Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.

  • 81%

    Making decisions and solving problems

    Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.

  • 79%

    Collecting and organising information

    Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.

  • 79%

    Thinking creatively

    Using your own ideas for developing, designing, or creating something new.

  • 78%

    Making sense of information and ideas

    Looking at, working with, and understanding data or information.

  • 77%

    Researching and investigating

    Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.

  • 77%

    Giving expert advice

    Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups.

  • 77%

    Planning and prioritising work

    Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.

  • 77%

    Communicating within a team

    Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.

  • 74%

    Looking for changes over time

    Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.

  • 74%

    Monitoring people, processes and things

    Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.

  • 71%

    Building good relationships

    Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.

  • 71%

    Scheduling work and activities

    Working out the timing of events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

  • 70%

    Explaining things to people

    Helping people to understand and use information.

  • 69%

    Leading and encouraging a team

    Encouraging and building trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.

  • 67%

    Working with computers

    Using computers to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

  • 67%

    Coming up with systems and processes

    Deciding on goals and figuring out what you need to do to achieve them.

  • 67%

    Documenting or recording information

    Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

  • 63%

    Checking compliance with standards

    Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

  • 60%

    Estimating amounts, costs and resources

    Working out sizes, distances, amounts, time, costs, resources, or materials needed for a task.


Interests and demands

Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

Interests

Interests are the style or type of work we prefer to do. All interest areas are shown below.

  • 95%

    Analytical

    Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.

  • 90%

    Practical

    Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

  • 52%

    Administrative

    Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.

  • 43%

    Enterprising

    Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.

  • 29%

    Creative

    Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.

  • 14%

    Helping

    Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.


Values

Work values are important to a person’s feeling of satisfaction. All six values are shown below.
  • 81%

    Recognition

    Advancement and the potential to lead. Workers are recognised for the work that they do, they may give directions and instructions to others, and they are looked up to in their company and their community.

  • 76%

    Achievement

    Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

  • 76%

    Independence

    Work alone and make decisions. Workers are able to try out their own ideas, make decisions on their own, and work with little or no supervision.

  • 76%

    Working conditions

    Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.

  • 57%

    Relationships

    Serve and work with others. Workers usually get along well with each other, do things to help other people, and are rarely pressured to do things that go against their sense of right and wrong.

  • 57%

    Support

    Supportive management that stands behind employees. Workers are treated fairly by their company, they are supported by management, and have supervisors who train them well.


Demands

The physical and social demands that workers face most often are shown below:
  • 98%

    Electronic mail

    Use electronic mail.

  • 96%

    Indoors, heat controlled

    Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.

  • 96%

    Telephone

    Talk on the telephone.

  • 95%

    Face-to-face discussions

    Talk with people face-to-face.

  • 85%

    Teamwork

    Work with people in a group or team.

  • 82%

    Wear common protective or safety equipment

    Wear equipment like safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets.

  • 81%

    Health and safety of others

    Take responsibility for the health and safety of others.

  • 80%

    Freedom to make decisions

    Have freedom to make decision on your own.

  • 80%

    Unstructured work

    Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.

  • 79%

    Being exact or accurate

    Be very exact or highly accurate.

  • 78%

    Contact with people

    Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.

  • 78%

    Impact of decisions

    Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.

  • 77%

    Letters and memos

    Write letters and memos.

  • 75%

    Consequence of error

    Work where mistakes have serious consequences.

  • 74%

    Spend time sitting

    Spend time sitting at work.

  • 71%

    Time pressure

    Work to strict deadlines.

  • 69%

    Competition

    Compete with others, or be aware of competitive pressures.

  • 68%

    Responsible for outcomes

    Take responsibility for the results of other people's work.

  • 66%

    Frequent decision making

    Frequently make decisions that impact other people.

  • 66%

    Lead or coordinate a team

    Lead others to do work activities.

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 17-2041.00 - Chemical Engineers.


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