The scientific industry is one of the most diverse fields of work in the UK and provides more than 5.8 million jobs across a range of specialisms. The industry typically requires technical staff and top recruitment agencies should have assessment procedures in place to ensure that all science candidates are relevantly trained and carry the necessary qualifications.
There are many different fields that a candidate may be interested in, with the broad disciplines of physics, chemistry and biosciences encompassing a wide range of varying niches. The pharmaceutical and life science sectors also fall within this and around 20% of the country's workforce is employed in a job role related to one of these five core areas. Specialisms can range from forensics to food with common job opportunities arising within research and development (R&D), scientific sales, manufacturing and engineering.
Salaries in the industry can vary, but due to the skilled nature of many job roles, senior professionals can command earnings in excess of £100K. The Forensic and medical sciences tend to offer the highest pay per annum, however data management, bioinformatics and clinical trials / research jobs also provide good levels of pay. Although London jobs are often more lucrative, graduate salaries typically start at £20K and the industry average can range between £25K-£40K.
Candidates looking to enter the industry will usually require a degree in their desired field, however specialist positions may also need postgraduate study (Masters, PhD). Professional bodies can be a source of further career enhancement but which one a candidate joins will be dictated by their vocation. For instance, geoscience graduates may benefit from joining the Geology Society, whereas the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) is designed to support chemical scientists.
In some positions, jobs depend largely upon grants or contract renewals, and can therefore be somewhat unstable for long-term employment prospects. Despite this, most professionals in the field are highly trained and technically educated, meaning that they have little difficulty in obtaining new posts when funding dries up. Job opportunities are common within a range of high profile companies and some of the largest employers of science candidates include Procter and Gamble (P&G), Unilever, BP and the Met Office. Although most of these offer graduate schemes, many employers will approach an agency to fill their science vacancies.