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Process Engineers: Always in Demand For Versatile Career Opportunities

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Chemical Engineering Careers

 

The engineering field offers a smorgasbord of career paths in industries across the board. Here’s a short list from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and this is just the top ten. 

  • Chemical Engineer
  • Industrial Engineer
  • Industrial Production Manager
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Materials Engineer
  • Biomedical Engineer
  • Architecture and Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronics Engineers
  • Software Developers
  • Environmental Engineers

What all of these diverse engineering fields have in common is the need for process engineering skills. We could list many more but it would probably prove more difficult to put a finger on an engineering sector that does NOT require process engineering talent.

Process Engineering Skills For Career Advancement Versatility

If you’re on the first steps up the ladder in your engineering career, take note that here at Resource Erectors, process engineering experience is one of our most frequently occurring candidate pre-requisites for the top positions in the industry-leading companies we work with. And it opens the door to a broad range of industries. Experience as a process engineer is always in demand.

Process Engineers are the key personnel in any company that produces a product, responsible for designing, implementing, controlling and perfecting industrial processes. Continuous production is a common goal to be achieved within the chemical, petrochemical, agriculture, mineral processing, mining, aggregates, food, pharmaceutical, and biotechnological industries. That means more opportunities are available for strategic horizontal career moves that can keep you moving up the ladder. If you have chemical engineering credentials you’re in an even better position to take advantage of these lucrative opportunities. 

According to the BLS, the median annual wage for chemical/process engineers was $108,770 in May 2019 with projected job growth of 8% in the period from 2016 to 2026. Process engineering experience is an essential career building block, that companies love to see on your resume’ because it’s a position that requires all the essential elements that are prerequisite skills further up the engineering career ladder such as:

  • Working with a plant-wide team
  • Leadership
  • Budget and schedule management
  • An attitude of continuous improvement
  • Troubleshooting
  • Risk assessment
  • Safety documentation
  • Data collection, interpretation and report writing
  • Research and development of new processes and equipment ( including challenging design responsibilities)

The process engineer is the “go-to” guy or gal who is found everywhere, and the position is anything but a desk job. It’s a high-energy hands-on occupation using the acquired working knowledge involving each plant’s unique and elaborate systems. Today’s process engineers wrangle with pumps, tanks, flow valves, steam valves, temperature gauges, reactor vessels, crackers, distillation columns, heat exchangers, boilers, steam pipes, conveyors, crushers, and pretty much everything else in the production process that has moving parts. They’ll often need the high-tech know-how for deploying Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) PID (Proportional Integral Derivative) Controllers, not to mention excellent IT and CAD skills. 

They’re often among the most essential company personnel who have working relationships with the entire plant workforce, from preliminary research and design to the production line to shift supervisors to plant management. So developing those critical soft “people” skills gives you a huge advantage. Scott Love, retired process engineer with a successful 35 year career at Conoco Phillips behind him explains in his webinar at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE):

“The things you assume going in- there may or may not be logic to how a plant is laid out or how things are identified. Every plant has its own system. I don’t want to say it’s a “secret code” but everybody on the inside knows the secret handshake and often those on the outside may not know. Yet, the only way to get to the inside and learn that secret handshake is to pester the heck out of people! So they get used to having you around and to include you in the conversation.”

Engineering Career Opportunities

The Ideal Skill Set For Process Engineer Candidates at Resource Erectors

Along with the soft skills of course comes the ideal “hard” skill set that the industry-leading companies who partner with Resource Erectors are looking for. If you’re thinking of making a move into process engineering here’s some motivation to help you with that career decision.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the process engineers sector is projected to see significant growth in the near future. The BLS forecasts an 8% increase in demand for these essential engineering jobs to the year 2026. 

To take full advantage of that anticipated growth trend, companies are looking for these qualities in top process engineer candidates: 

  • Critical/logical thinking – Identify problems, and then analyze those problems from a variety of perspectives to develop the best corrective solutions.
  • Spatial reasoning – The capacity to visualize two or three-dimensional objects and then mentally manipulate them.
  • Superior communication skills – As we mentioned above, when working with people throughout the comprehensive production process, these engineers have to be able to manage people well and communicate new ideas effectively to the workforce who will actually implement new techniques.
  • Calm troubleshooting under pressure – Process engineers must be able to troubleshoot at an advanced level to minimize downtime and production losses. If a problem is delaying manufacturing, they must be able to come up with effective short-term working solutions quickly, and be prepared to make innovative, long-term process modifications to prevent them from recurring in the future. 
  • Cost-effective awareness –  Work well within rigorous time and budget constraints while meeting or exceeding production and ROI goals.
  • Outstanding computer skills – IT skill is mandatory to tackle tasks involving simulation software, design software, maintenance reporting, regulatory compliance, and safety documentation.
  • Data analysis skills – Process engineers are responsible for analysis and interpretation of data into charts, diagrams, and reports.
  • Negotiation skills – Especially necessary if charged with responsibilities including budgetary or schedule management, dealing with vendors, and workforce allocation when processes are scaled up or down to meet changing production benchmarks.
  • Creative thinking and excellent problem-solving skills – Have the ability to solve problems in new ways. Looking beyond established techniques with innovation that contributes to continuous improvement. 

Engineering Careers at Resource Erectors

If you have the skills we’ve listed above and you’re one of the “go-to-engineers” in your company but career advancement is slow in coming it might be the perfect time to troubleshoot your own career with Resource Erectors. We maintain relationships with the top industry leaders who are seeking the best professionals in the US, Canada, and Australia in industries including manufacturing, mining, minerals processing, civil construction, aggregates, construction materials, concrete, and more. When your organization has critical vacancies that are costing you each day, Resource Erectors can help you fill those essential positions while avoiding the high costs and disruptions of a bad hire. 85% of Resource Erector candidates placed are still contributing to the success of their companies 5 years later as the result of our 20 years of experience at matching the best-qualified professionals in the industries we serve, so don’t hesitate to contact us today. 

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