Process development is an aspect of chemicals where hiring has remained strong, particularly in biotechnology, industry insiders say. The range of possible work for chemical engineers is extensive, including proteins, biorefining and the shift in chemicals production from petroleum-based feedstocks to bio-based building blocks. "Unlike chemists or biologists, chemical engineers with bachelor's degrees typically are ready to come to work," said Paul Wu, upstream process-development group leader at a Bayer HealthCare facility.

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