Discussion Central

Expand all | Collapse all

2017 AICHE Salary Survey

Jump to Best Answer
  • 1.  2017 AICHE Salary Survey

    Posted 06-13-2017 16:05
    Hello All,

    Recently, AICHE published the result of its biennial salary survey.  Based on the article, the result showed a 2.4% decrease in the 2017 salary mean compared to that of 2015.  The article stated that the decline was unexpected and that the source of uncertainty could be that  different research firms conducted the 2015 and 2017 surveys.

    Here are my two cents:
    1.  It would be beneficial to know the salary distribution and the standard deviation of the 2015 and 2017 data before reaching any conclusion about growth or decline.
    2. My guess is that one factor contributing to the declining salary mean is the retirement of the most experienced chemical engineers (baby boomers) with high salaries.

     What are your thoughts?  Do you think a decline in the salaries makes sense?  Thanks.


    Nader Shakerin
    Facilities Manager
    Intel Corporation
    Chandler AZ

  • 2.  RE: 2017 AICHE Salary Survey

    Posted 06-14-2017 07:59

    I think retirements might have that impact on salaries, but I would think the declining number of chemical engineers as well as our burgeoning energy economy would also see an increase in salary in a kind of supply and demand scenario.  The banking downturn 7 to 9 years ago as well as the recent downturn in oil and gas in 2014 and 2015 may account for some of the decrease.  We should see an uptick in salary in the next few years with the filling the retirements and manning the Gulf Coast projects recently announced.

    My concern is do we have the qualified engineers to meet the future demand.  It takes a few years after school to make an experienced ChE.

    Michael Robertson
    Corp. Process Safety Engineer
    Huber Engineered Woods
    Buford GA

  • 3.  RE: 2017 AICHE Salary Survey

    Posted 06-14-2017 08:20
    You can't look at 2 points and make any valuable comments.  I have seen average salary drop several times over a 2 year period - both my own, and industry wide.  I also maintain that ChE salaries have not kept up with real inflation over the past 40 years or more - too many accredited schools, too many graduates, and the H1B visas in the US help keep the overall salaries low.  And yes, Boomers and older workers are retiring at an increasing rate, dropping off the high-end salaries, plus fewer industries and companies with realistic bonus programs.

    Bruce Bullough
    Portage MI

  • 4.  RE: 2017 AICHE Salary Survey

    Posted 06-22-2017 10:58
    Great discussion and questions. Here's the spread of the data split into deciles and quartiles, which is helpful in comparing the data from this year to that of 2015:

    Year of Survey 1st Decile 1st Quartile Median 3rd Quartile 9th Decile
    2015 $72,000 $97,000 $127,000 $160,000 $200,000
    2017 $58,000 $70,000 $124,000 $140,000 $175,000

    Thanks so much for your comments,

    Michelle Bryner
    Senior Editor, CEP
    New York NY

  • 5.  RE: 2017 AICHE Salary Survey
    Best Answer

    Posted 06-23-2017 13:52
      |   view attached
    The 2017 salary distribution has shifted to lower salaries.  Notice the drop in the 1st decile and the 9th decile vs 2015.  There were 2,633 respondents in 2015 and 2,105 respondents in 2017.  This supports Nader's guess that the salary distribution shift is due to retirements of high-wage earners.

    Also notice that the Interquartile range (IQR=Q3-Q1) is higher for 2017 than 2015.  This indicates a flatter distribution.

    If we assume a normal distribution of salaries, a 2-sample t-test indicates that the median salary drop is significant (see attached file). This is before considering 2016 inflation rate of 1.3%.

    Still, I think a median salary of $124K is not too shabby and will allow most professionals to provide for their family.

    It is important that Business Leaders continue to attract STEM graduates and provide a challenging work environment and compensation package which keeps the Human Resources pipeline flowing.

    Ronald Shewchuk PE
    Air Liquide Americas
    Chester Springs PA