The largest 19 percent of establishments that employed 50 or more workers in 2006 were the providers of 79 percent of the industry jobs. Such plants are kept scrupulously clean and constantly maintained. There are a number of machines that need to run constantly making the working environment an incredibly loud one in many instances and the interior of many plants can be hot. Hazards in the chemical manufacturing industry can be quite substantial, which is the reason why workers are usually compensated at a much higher rate than the average jobs in manufacturing compensate their workers at.
Chemical manufacturing companies must adhere to strict safety procedures. Workers are required to wear the appropriate protective gear at all times and be provided with an extensive education in the dangers associated with the chemicals being handled. Body suits with breathing devices designed to filter out any harmful fumes are mandatory for work in the very dangerous environments that are chemical manufacturing plants.
Workers in production positions may operate and fix plant machinery, transport raw materials, be responsible for the monitoring of any stage of the production process. New technology is gradually increasing the amount of plant automation and has made jobs for human employees in certain stages of manufacture obsolete. High school graduates usually qualify for most entry-level production jobs, and advancement into better paying jobs requiring greater skill and increased responsibility usually comes about through basic on-the-job training. There are some vocational schools that offer programs related to chemical manufacture, but most companies will prefer to promote from within, allowing a talented worker the opportunity to advance from within.
Chemical plant and system operators monitor the entire production process. They are responsible for ensuring the correct ingredient ratios are used to checking chemical reaction rates. Plant operators usually advance to these positions after having gained extensive experience and training in the chemical production processes.
Chemists and material scientists perform necessary research. This includes the analyzing materials used and modifying them appropriately. They study chemical processes for new or existing products and formulate the production steps for cosmetics, household products, coatings, and paints. Although chemical companies hire some chemists with bachelor’s degrees, a master’s or doctoral degree is becoming the standard for manufacturing tech jobs such as these worldwide.
Those looking for employment in the chemical manufacturing industry should expect to encounter keen competition, particularly to those entering the industry for the first time, as plant automation will continue to decrease the number of available jobs. For basic production jobs, opportunities will be the highest for those workers with experience and education. For the professional and management jobs, applicants with experience and an advanced degree will prove most desirable.
The chemical industry is certainly not always the safest place to work. Even with the stringent measures companies have in place to protect their workers, accidents have occurred. Many older workers who once worked with products such as asbestos years ago are only now suffering the effects of having done so. However, the compensation for chemical manufacturing employees is more than competitive, and this certainly may be a career worth considering.