How to Increase Your Engineering Salary

Every employees salary is a very emotional topic. Thankfully engineers are often rewarded quite well for their expertise and services. But there are always ways to increase your salary, while at the same time excelling at your chosen profession and improving your engineering abilities.

So how exactly do you go about increasing your salary?


Source: BullionVault

Thankfully over the years many engineering professional organizations have performed yearly salary surveys, so there is a lot of data available regarding salary increases, and differences in pay depending on a variety of circumstances. By looking at this data and trying to analyze it there have been found several key differences between engineers and their salaries which you can take advantage of.

So, here are 5 ideas to increase your salary as a chemical engineer:

1. Get Chartered

IChemE have recently found through a salary survey of over 2,500 chemical engineers that those who have been chartered by a recognized professional organization earn as much as £10,000 a year more than those without. A similar salary survey by ASME of 12,000 engineers found chartered engineers command over US$20,000 more than non-chartered engineers.

Getting chartered proves to an employer that a group of professional engineers recognize that you are competent in your work and operate in a ethical manner. Engineers Australia aim to use chartered membership to show that participants demonstrate:

  • The highest standards of professionalism
  • Leadership
  • Up-to-date expertise
  • Quality and safety
  • The ability to undertake independent practice

These qualities are exactly what every employer wants in their chemical engineers, so the ability to prove that you have all of these attributes in extremely powerful.

2. Do Further Study

A masters degree or a PhD in a specific technical area make you (or at least give the perception) more of an expert in that field. In fact, in a the ASME salary surveyit was found that a masters degree can increase your salary by US$10,000, and a doctorate can increase it by a further US$21,000!

3. Move to Management

The move for a chemical engineer from a technical role to business management is a logical and common progression. It is also another way to increase your salary, although this usually comes with increased responsibilities and work load.

Although the role may not be as challenging from a technical perspective and the amount of money being dealt with make decisions extremely important and valuable to the operations performance and the businesses bottom line.

4. Change Industries

The difference in salaries between engineers who work in the Oil and Gas industry compared with those in food production for example can be significant. APESMA conducted a survey breaking down the difference between annual salary increases by multiple industries where the mining and oil and gas industry vastly outperformed other alternatives such as water treatment or chemical storage.

Source: APESMA

To illustrate the long term impact of an increase in annual salary please view the following graph. Over a 25 year career with a starting wage of $80,000, a 1% change in annual salary increase can result in over $50,000 per year salary increase in the final year as well as $400,000 increase in total earnings!

5. Change Locations

In the same ASME survey it was found that where you live and work can represent a difference in salary of as much as US$24,000. In fact, moving from the Upper Mountain states to the Pacific Southwest could increase your salary by around 30%!

It has also been found that with Australian chemical engineers earning a reported AU$10,000 more than their US counterparts and as much as AU$44,000 more than chemical engineers working in the UK!

This is very closely linked to the previous suggestion, as changing locations can often resulting in a change of industry.

There are literally dozens of career progression opportunities that you can take to increase your salary. The ideas above are just a few possibilities which are proven to result in significant monetary gains.

If you have any other possibilities or you have used one of these methods yourself we would love to her about it - leave a comment below.


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