Hunter Campbell’s supply chain salary & employment forecast series profiles roles within the Supply Chain job family, including jobs in demand, wages, and employment prospects.
In our twentieth instalment, the role of Process Engineer is in the spotlight.
Purpose of the role:
A Process Engineer designs and implements systems and procedures used in production/manufacturing environments. The duties include testing and monitoring equipment, updating current processes, and running risk assessments. Although not exclusively, they mainly work in the manufacturing, chemical and biotechnology industries. Designing, implementing and optimising the industrial process for large-scale manufacturing is central to the role. Their aim is to ensure that the process for manufacturing products is done in an efficient and quality-controlled manner. They’ll regularly meet with Production Managers to determine what their current processes consist of and will collaborate with them to make adjustments accordingly. They also perform risk assessments to determine what kind of improvements could be made to keep the facility running smoothly and efficiently.
Process Engineers are responsible for reviewing safety and quality standards to ensure the facility is properly meeting these guidelines. They use these guidelines to design and test their own process upgrades and new systems to see if they meet quality standards and regulations. Process Engineers will then update Product Managers on any changes by providing them with operating instructions and process documents with instructions and details listed.
Key skills required:
Process Engineers spend most of their time in an office or based onsite at industrial plants and other large-scale manufacturing locations. Depending on the role, they are often required to monitor or direct operations or be involved in the design or upgrading of existing facilities. They have a keen interest in chemistry and wouldn’t be considered “on the tools” engineers. Although the day-to-day of a process engineer will vary greatly from business to business, the following would be typical of key skills:
- Ability to interpret technical drawings
- Excellent analytical and math skills
- Communication skills – the ability to persuade others to change existing practices
- Calm under pressure – the ability to troubleshoot at a high level. If a problem is delaying production you must come up with an effective solution, quickly!
- Project management – Be able to manage people and budgets to completion of the project on time and within budget
- Proven ability to identify, assess and solve problems
- Knowledge of specific process engineering software systems.
First and foremost, it would be expected that you have a degree in engineering, typically a BSc/BEng or MSc/MEng in chemical or process engineering. As you will have seen from the responsibilities above, the role is heavily focused on project management and process improvement, a mathematical background would be beneficial for troubleshooting, analysis and design. Entry roles may be available for those with 1-2 years of relevant engineering experience with other roles requiring more experience and qualifications, depending on the company size, and scope of the role.
It offers a more strategic view away from just engineering as a function. In a larger business, it can also be a stepping stone into more senior engineering or other technical roles. Though all areas of process engineering can be expected to be highly valued in the future, engineers who focus on developing automation systems and use robots for manufacturing will most likely be the future of the industry.
The recruitment outlook for engineering professionals remains strong, especially within FMCG production and manufacturing. This demand is only going to increase for the foreseeable future with the talent pool from offshore greatly impacted. As the desire for improved performance out of plant equipment continues, so is the demand for Process Engineers. The Hunter Campbell Supply Chain & Operations Team have recently recruited a number of Engineering roles within manufacturing and production across New Zealand and we are continuing to see demand in this space.
Junior: $80,000 – $110,000.
Intermediate: $110,000 – $140,000.
Senior: $140,000 – $180,000.
If you would like to find out more about the role of a Processy Engineer, please contact Senior Consultant John Boyle. John specialises in Supply Chain, Operations & Procurement with a particular focus across Supply Chain, Procurement & Purchasing, Operations, Engineering & Technical. For more news and views, visit our website by clicking here, see what opportunities we have available here or follow us on LinkedIn.