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.

A Bachelor Degree or higher is required. Nearly all workers have a university. Sometimes relevant experience or on-the-job training is also needed. Registration or licensing may also be required.

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

Job Titles

  • Chemical Engineer
  • Materials Engineer
  • Chemical Engineer

    Designs and prepares specifications for chemical process systems and the construction and operation of commercial-scale chemical plants, and supervises industrial processing and fabrication of products undergoing physical and chemical changes. Registration or licensing may be required.

  • Materials Engineer

    Investigates the properties of metals, ceramics, polymers and other materials and assesses and develops their engineering and commercial applications. Registration or licensing may be required.

Fast Facts

  • Unavailable Weekly Pay
  • 4,100 workers Employment Size
  • Stable Future Growth
  • Very high skill Skill level rating
  • Average unemployment Unemployment
  • 91.2% Full-Time Full-Time Share
  • 39.2 hours Average full-time
  • 40 years Average age
  • 24.4% female Gender Share

The number of Chemical and Materials Engineers grew very strongly over the past 5 years and is expected to stay fairly stable over the next 5 years:
from 4,100 in 2017 to 4,100 by 2022.
There are likely to be around 2,000 job openings over this time from workers leaving and new jobs being created.

  • Size: This is a very small occupation.
  • Unemployment: Unemployment was average in 2017.
  • Location: Chemical and Materials Engineers work in many regions of Australia. Many work in Western Australia.
  • Industries: Most work in Manufacturing; Professional, Scientific and Technical Services; and Mining.
  • Full-time: Most work full-time (91.2%, much higher than the all jobs average of 68.4%) showing part-time work may be hard to find.
  • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 39.2 hours per week at work (compared to the all jobs average of 40.0 hours).
  • Age: The average age is 40 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years).
  • Gender: 24.4% of workers are female (compared to the all jobs average of 46.7%).

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Jobs and Small Business trend data to May 2017 and Department of Jobs and Small Business projections to 2022.
YearNumber of Workers
20074400
20085500
20096400
20105500
20117900
20123400
20135300
20146300
20156100
20165400
20174100
20224100

Weekly Earnings

Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)

No data is available for the selected graph for this Occupation.

Main Industries

Main Employing Industries (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2017, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
Manufacturing44.0
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services17.5
Mining13.0
Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services9.8
Other Industries15.7

States and Territories

  • NSW

  • VIC

  • QLD

  • SA

  • TAS

  • NT

  • ACT

Employment by State and Territory (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2017, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
StateChemical and Materials EngineersAll Jobs Average
NSW23.031.6
VIC26.426.2
QLD24.119.7
SA5.16.7
WA21.010.8
TAS0.02.0
NT0.41.1
ACT0.01.8

Age Profile

Age Profile (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2017, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age BracketChemical and Materials EngineersAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-190.0-5.25.2
20-2412.9-9.99.9
25-3433.0-23.623.6
35-4427.5-21.721.7
45-547.3-20.820.8
55-598.5-8.88.8
60-646.6-6.06.0
65 and Over4.4-4.04.0

Education Level

Highest Level of Education (% Share)

Source: ABS, Education and Work (2016). Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Skill level requirements can change over time, the qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Type of QualificationChemical and Materials EngineersAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate27.1-8.68.6
Bachelor degree72.9-17.917.9
Advanced Diploma/Diploma0-10.110.1
Certificate III/IV0-18.918.9
Year 120-18.718.7
Years 11 & 100-17.717.7
Below Year 100-8.18.1

A Bachelor Degree or higher is required. Nearly all workers have a university. Sometimes relevant experience or on-the-job training is also needed. Registration or licensing may also be required.

Before starting a course, check it will provide you with the skills and qualifications you need.

  • Compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes on the QILT website.
  • Compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes on the My Skills website.
  • You might be interested in Chemical, Hydrocarbons & Refining, Plastics, Rubber & Cablemaking and Manufactured Mineral Products VET training pathways on the AAPathways website.

The course listings on this page are provided by Good Education Group.

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.

Knowledge

These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

  1. Engineering and Technology

    98% Important

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

  2. Chemistry

    90% Important

    Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change. Danger signs and disposal methods.

  3. Mathematics

    87% Important

    Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

  4. Physics

    80% Important

    Physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.

  5. Production and Processing

    77% Important

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

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

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.

Activities

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

  1. Making Decisions and Solving Problems

    92% Important

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

  2. Analyzing Data or Information

    89% Important

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

  3. Getting Information

    89% Important

    Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.

  4. Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Staff

    88% Important

    Giving information to supervisors, co-workers, and staff by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

  5. Interacting With Computers

    88% Important

    Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The 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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