I’m starting something new now that we have a new website — every Monday I’m going to publish a ‘Links ‘n Things’ blogpost with links to articles and other things that either a) pertain to the engineering job market or b) are humorous or otherwise scientifically interesting. If nothing else, I hope it gives you a reason to check back regularly and I would love it if it ended up being fodder for discussion. Comments very welcome, enjoy!
1) The latest salary survey that ChemicalProcessing.com does is out – in a nutshell, salaries are going up, but at a pretty slow pace. The average salary among all chemical engineers (full-time) rose slightly from $101,553 in 2011 to $103,340 this year – keep in mind that is an across-the-board average, for a experience-based breakdown, consult the article. The most interesting part of the article to me, was that “only 1.3% of respondents say they are unemployed, while 2.4% work part-time.” This is evidence for what I have saying for a long time — that the unemployment rate for chemical engineers is not even close to the national unemployment number of 8.1%. There is a lot of job stability within the chemical engineering field right now and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. For the full 2012 Salary Survey article, please click here: http://www.chemicalprocessing.com/articles/2012/2012-salaries-move-ahead-slowly/
2) When I look at economic numbers, I tend to focus most on domestic manufacturing figures because that seems to have the most direct effect on the engineering job market. The news of late has not been that good, as reflected in this article on Bloomberg. U.S. Manufacturing shrank for the 3rd consecutive month in August and the Manufacturing Index number fell to 49.6, which indicates a contracting manufacturing climate. For the full text of the article, please click here: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-04/ism-index-of-u-s-manufacturing-decreased-to-49-6-in-august.html
3) Two major chemical manufacturers dropped plans to offer IPOs. This article on Chemical & Engineering News discusses that: http://cen.acs.org/articles/90/i37/Chemical-Firms-Drop-Stock-Plans.html
4) A tragic and bizarre story about a chemistry professor at UCLA who is being held on felony lab code violations that resulted in the death of a student: http://cen.acs.org/articles/90/i37/California-Chemistry-Professor-Arraigned-Lab.html
5) I’ve seen a number of companies attempting to get into this space recently. Companies like GEVO, Lanzatech, and Ineos (among others) have been building commercial demonstration plants to do this sort of thing: http://cen.acs.org/articles/90/web/2012/08/Biodiesel-Sewage-Sludge.html