Process engineering is the design, operation and optimisation of chemical, biological or physical processes, turning raw materials into products of value in a commercial setting. Process engineers select and/or develop the ingredients and manufacturing methods that will convert materials into the end goods.

Professionals in this discipline work across a range of industries, including petrochemical, chemical, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology; and can be involved in producing a range of products from toiletries to oil and gas.

Notable contributors to process engineering include Vladimir HaenselHenry Bessemer,  Roger Sargent, and Fritz Haber & Carl Bosch.


The responsibilities of a Process Engineer will vary dependent on the specific role and the sector you work in. However, some typical duties common to process engineering could include:

  • Designing and testing new processes
  • Collecting and analysing data to make improvements to existing processes
  • Selecting and purchasing plant equipment
  • Using simulation programmes to ensure optimised methods are used
  • Investigation and troubleshooting of problems relating to the plant or processes within
  • Managing budgets and other associated resources

Core Skills

  • Knowledge of chemistry, maths, and engineering principles
  • Analytical thinking
  • Commercial awareness
  • Problem solving skills


Entry to the profession is usually through university education. Directly related degree subjects in process engineering or chemical engineering are the usual route, but other related subjects would also be useful:

  • Manufacturing engineering
  • Industrial engineering


The salary of a process engineer will vary dependent on sector, seniority, location, and the company. However, the median salary in the UK for a process engineer is £31,500. This rises to £44,900 for a senior process engineer, and £63,300 for principal level roles.

Please note: these are third-party industry figures and do not reflect the average salaries of roles provided by NES Global Talent.

NES Global Talent Insight

Lee Anderson, Operations Director at NES Global Talent, commented:

“Process engineers are an integral part of the design & engineering functions as well as the commissioning, ongoing operations, and upgrades of plant equipment and processes. Chemical engineering degrees are a pre-requisite for most process engineering roles in the oil & gas sector and it’s not uncommon to be asked to support very niche projects depending on the specific client requirements.”

“During the heights of the oil and gas sector prior to the downturn, process engineers were in incredibly high demand with opportunities outweighing the talent pool. As the industry starts to recover, we’re starting to see some more activity in the market which is leading to enquiries for process engineers again. As the oil & gas industry continues to pick up, we will start to see an increased demand for these highly sought after skilled engineers.”

Process Engineering Jobs with NES Global Talent

NES Global Talent offers a range of process engineering positions across various sectors, especially in the chemical, oil and gas, and life science markets. Search our process engineering positions or register with us to be considered for any future roles

The spread of COVID-19 is affecting all of us. But as a global staffing company, NES would like to reassure our customers that we are fully operational across all our locations and are working closely with clients to ensure essential projects stay on track at this difficult time. For regular updates, please see our COVID-19 Support Hub.