Thursday, 25 July 2019

Chemical Engineering salaries - Edinburgh graduates compared to rest of UK

When applying for jobs, or at interviews, you might get asked that tricky question "What salary do you expect?" Cringey. You don't want to work for peanuts although they would no doubt be delighted to hear you will work for less than £20K. On the other hand you don't want to price yourself out of the market either by thumping the table, demanding £40K and not a penny less. 

In this situation, it's a good strategy to turn to the current Labour Market Information (LMI) on salaries for chemical engineers.

Below are the data from IChemE (UK wide information) and Edinburgh’s own destination data. I have used the latest cohorts from each. ie 2017 for IChemE and those graduating in 2016 and 2017 combined from Edinburgh DLHE (numbers offering salary info were low, so I combined 2 years for Edinburgh).
For both data sources, I combined MEng and BEng data.
For both data sources, the data is for those working in the UK only.
For Edinburgh data, I removed 2 non-graduate roles with lower salaries to make it more compaarable with the IChemE salaries (where all respondents are IChemE members and would be working in engineering related roles).
Note that the IChemE  under 25 data will include graduates who may have been in work for up to 3 years whereas the Edinburgh data will only incude graduates who have been in work for 6 months or less. This means that the IChemE data are bound to show higher salaries than the Edinburgh data.

IChemE (under 25 years of age)
Edinburgh Chem Eng (grads of 2016 and 2017 combined)
£31,466 (n=173)
£27,330 (n= 19)
Suspect IChemE mean is boosted by the single person earning £110-£115,000
£30,000 (n=173)
£28,500 (n=19)

£26-£28,000 (n=38)
£29,000 (n=6)

£16-18,000 (n=1)
£21,750 (n=1) 

£110-115,000 (n=1)
£30,000 (n=1)

So in response to the above question,  you could say something like "well, I know the median salary for chemical engineers under 25 is £30K in the UK, and the median salary for fresh graduates from Edinburgh is £28.5K, so I would be hoping for something in the region of 28-30K". 

If you have had relevant experience you might want to mention that too, and say something like "hopefully my experience over two summers at the risk consultancy would help put me towards the top end of that scale". It's not being greedy, it's just a matter of recognising your own value. 

They might then come back with a lower figure, so it would be as well to have a "red-line" in mind that you won't go under. Ask yourself how much you want the job and bear in mind that some sectors pay less (eg water, waste management) than others (eg oil, consultancy). Some locations pay less (eg Northern Ireland, West Midlands), and some pay more (eg SE England, Scotland). Some role pay less (eg training), and some pay more (eg risk). All those factors need to be taken into account, and sometimes a lower salary can be offset by other benefits, such as bonuses, healthcare, commitment to your professional developement, further training, work-life balance and more.

See IChemE Salary Survey 2017  for further information. 
Also, Glassdoor has salary information, though it is taken from employees of all ages in the workforce, so it's higher than that from IChemE and Edinburgh data.