This page gives career information of relevance to Imperial Chemical Engineering students.student in lab coat using chemistry equipment

You can find out how the Careers Service supports Imperial students on our services for students page, explore our what's on page for career events, book an appointment and sign up for our weekly newsletter, sent every Thursday (sign up by checking the relevant box on your personal profile on JobsLive). Whatever stage you are at with your studies, we’re here to help, from first year undergraduates right through to PhD studies – you don’t even have to know what you want to do to make use of our services!

What can you do with Chemical Engineering?

Chemical Engineering graduates have a wide range of career options. Some choose to continue using their engineering knowledge in their career, and others choose to change direction after graduation. Around 20% of Imperial chemical engineering graduates choose to do further study and around 70% go into employment at the end of their first degree. View our what do Imperial graduates do? page for examples of the employers and further study options chosen by previous graduates of your course. Do not feel limited to what you see there as there are many other options open to you.

Chemical Engineering

Develop your skills

The typical skills developed by Imperial chemical engineering students during their degree are highly valued by employers and include:

  • Problem-solving
  • Analysis
  • Project management
  • Teamwork
  • Communication skills
  • Ability to learn fast
  • Working under pressure

It’s good to reflect on your abilities and consider what skills you can evidence and which skills you may need to enhance. Use our self reflection webpage to help you understand and document your abilities.

During your degree you will have many opportunities to develop and learn new skills. Employers will want to see what you have been doing to develop your skills and knowledge gained outside of your course while you have been a student. Experiences such as student societies, part-time work, volunteering and sports can develop your skills and will be valuable additions to your CV. Work experience can also help develop skills and help you decide what career direction you want to go in and become more competitive in future job or further study applications.

As an Imperial student you can participate, or take a leadership role, in a wide variety of Students’ Union activities where you’ll develop many skills. You also have free access to LinkedIn Learning and can use this to develop or improve your knowledge and abilities with software tools and skills through instructional videos taught by industry experts.

You can learn and develop the skills required to be successful in the job or internship market. For example, you will need to know how to create a strong CV, write a good cover letter and perform well in interviews. We can help you to learn these skills. Start with the applications and interviews section of our website, and by attending our skills training and workshops.

Explore career ideas

When you understand your skills through self reflection it’s a good idea to then learn about the range of career areas that might be of interest. Our what do Imperial graduates do? contains our Graduate Outcomes data which gives examples of employers and further study options of previous graduates. You can search the data to find what Chem Eng graduates went on to do immediately after graduation and you may also find it useful to explore Imperial College LinkedIn – “Chemical Engineering” where you can explore the career paths of our chemical engineering alumni as their careers develop over time. However, don't feel limited by what others have done, but instead, follow your own interests.

To help you begin we have listed some of the career areas that Imperial maths students often go into which is taken from our what do Imperial graduates do? Graduate Outcomes data. Our exploring options resources can help you to learn more about these sectors including desirable skills, responsibilities, professional development and salary expectations across different roles and industries. You can also meet employers from many of these areas through Careers Service events and fairs which are advertised on JobsLive and in our weekly newsletter

  • Banking/finance
  • Civil service/government
  • Consulting
  • Data science/AI
  • Energy consulting
  • Financial services
  • Insurance
  • IT/technology
  • Operational research
  • Process engineering
  • Risk
  • Start-ups
  • Teaching/education
  • Telecommunications
  • Trading

You may be interested in something not on this list and that is fine – graduates go in many different career directions. Many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here. But you can use the list above as a starting point to explore and add other ideas as well.

Professional bodies

A professional body, association or society seeks to further a particular profession and the interests of individuals engaged in that profession. The body maintains an oversight of the knowledge, skills, conduct and practice of that profession and can offer accreditation or chartership. You can often use professional bodies to access training or networking events and explore related career options.

Below are some links to professional bodies that deal with various areas related to Chem Eng. Many offer student membership which can give you access to job listings and careers information while offering great networking opportunities. Some memberships may even allow you to register your CV to vacancy matching services or to be viewed by other members of the community.

Industry links

There are many well-known Multinational Companies (MNCs) offering graduate level jobs but Small or Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs), defined as organisations with fewer than 250 employees, also offer a wide range of interesting and unique graduate level roles. Due to a smaller marketing budget SMEs can be harder to find and they often rely on you approaching them speculatively to show motivation and interest. They will sometimes engage with universities through incubation hubs to help them grow skills and expertise. The Imperial Enterprise Lab often run events to help students understand and network with SME and start-up communities.

Energy specific organisations:

Engineering and environmental consultants and suppliers:

Food and drink production:

Pharmaceuticals and Biotech:

Research SMEs:

  • The UK Science Park Association contains a members list of science parks where you can find information on the SMEs based on these specific science parks. Good for research experience.

Water suppliers:

  • Water UK members are UK water and wastewater service suppliers for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

SMEs can also be found using Google Maps by running a search for a specific term (e.g. “engineering consulting”) in geographic areas where you would like to work or where you know one organisation is. Often SMEs will cluster together geographically around a larger organisation related to their work from energy hubs to tech city.

LinkedIn is also a good tool to discover SMEs. Explore the profiles of different people who have roles that you are interested in and scroll down their profile to see where they have worked. You may find SMEs and other interesting organisations that you did not know about. For further support with LinkedIn, attend a Careers Essentials: LinkedIn course.

Next steps

Career planning often takes time and can sometimes feel overwhelming. It’s a good idea to set aside a small amount of time on a regular basis to maintain momentum. Below are some things to get you started:

  • Sign up to the Imperial Careers Newsletter by checking the relevant box on your personal profile on JobsLive
  • Learn about the timescales for applying for further study, work experience and graduate employment
  • See our what's on pages to find out about the different types of events that we run, including: workshops, careers fairs, career talks  - and hear from alumni and employers about different types of work
  • Learn the skills that will help you succeed on the job market in the applications and interviews section of our website, and by attending our skills training and workshops

If you feel stuck with your career planning, you could book a one to one appointment to talk it through with a careers consultant. Mark Allen is the Careers Consultant for chemical engineering but you can see any of our consultants for your first appointment.