2 answers

What are the statistics of a Chemical Engineer ending up in a leadership role within industry?

Asked Bedford, Massachusetts

I am planning on majoring in Chemical Engineering because I am very drawn to the idea of being offered a new challenge at work every day. I am a problem solver and want to relate that skill to the real world. However, I am also very drawn to the business world, and would like to eventually end up in a leadership role. So, I am just wondering what my odds of ending up in my desired career are. #business #engineering #career #planning

2 answers

Fuzzy’s Answer

Updated New Delhi, Delhi, India

Whether you work for a major oil company like ExxonMobil or an independent refiner such as HollyFrontier, refinery engineers have a variety of career paths to explore.

Larger oil companies offer more diverse locations, faster career development, and a greater depth of exposure, but smaller companies also have their perks. In this article I’ll share insights into the different avenues one can take when entering the glorious world of an oil refiner.

While every new grad often wonders where his career will take him 15 years down the line, there are hardly any careers in this world that offer the endless possibilities that one in the oil industry can present. It doesn’t matter if you hold a degree in chemical engineering or one in electrical engineering, every door remains open to capable engineers.

The first thing to recognize is that a refinery career path is very multi-dimensional. Most refinery engineers start their careers in a very technical role - from process engineering to design engineering. However, as time progresses, many engineers find that their experiences diversify to include various management and technical roles throughout the entire organization.

It’s best to view a refinery career path using the diagram below – think of it as 3 x 2 matrix where primary job tasks exist between Engineering, Commercial, and Operations. Within each of the three primary categories, one can progress between Technical and Management assignments.

Ram’s Answer

Updated McKinney, Texas

I am an Electrical Engineer and have some friends that are Chemical Engineers.


In most companies, you can get to low level or sometimes mid-level management as a Chemical Engineer. In some companies, that rely heavily on Chemical (Paint, Semiconductor, etc.), you may be able to get to a senior level management position.


Irrespective of the type of Engineering degree that you have, my recommendation would be to get an MBA as well. This will make it easier if you want to get to a executive level position within a company.


I hope this helps.