Many scientific jobs are based in laboratories, and even if you've experienced a lab environment in school or university, you might well wonder what it's like to actually work in a lab.

Working in a lab

Here are some of the best and worst things about working in a lab:

 

Lab equipment is expensive and delicate

In case you didn't already know, laboratory equipment tends to be pretty expensive. If you happen to be a bit on the clumsy side, you may find yourself racking up quite the replacement bill if you're not careful. Most science work requires concentration and precision, so take it easy if around the most delicate equipment if these aren't your strong points.

 

Your social life may have to take a back seat

When working in a lab, you commit yourself to the experiments you take on. Unfortunately, this can mean that your working hours become somewhat irregular, and other social activities have to be put on hold. Be prepared for your work schedule to be a bit changeable!

 

Your work can be dangerous

When you talk to your friends who maybe work within the construction industry or in factories, you may hear them say how dangerous their line of work is and how they could have an accident at any given time. When you work in a lab, the same thing applies to you! Working with infectious agents, caustic chemicals and electrified apparatus can put your health and safety in major danger, so be careful!

 

You actually have to dress like a scientist

You've most likely seen a load of lab work in movies or on TV, where the workers are dressed in long white coats with huge safety goggles protecting their faces. This is surprisingly true to real life - lab coats and goggles are part of the uniform, primarily because of the health and safety concerns mentioned above.

If you're looking for lab-based work, Hyper Recruitment Solutions can help you! Click the link below to browse the latest scientific from all over the UK!

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Manufacturing jobs

The onward march of technology has long been a double-edged sword in terms of its effect on employment.

On the one hand, technological advancement has created entirely new industries and led to increased efficiency, rapid production, and streamlining of the workplace in general.

On the other hand, automation has made a lot of formerly essential jobs obsolete, and those job losses will only become more widespread as the fields of AI and robotics continue to break new ground.

It's easy to see why so many people are looking for new lines of work that simply could not exist without human workers. So which jobs are safe from automation? And which are most at risk?

Jobs most at risk from automation

A 2017 report by consultancy firm McKinsey Global Institute projected that up to 800 million workers across the globe will lose their jobs to robots by 2030, noting that machine operators and food workers are likely to take the brunt of the hit.

While that may be a shocking statistic, technology reshaping the workplace is nothing new. In fact, it’s been a vital part of our evolution as a species - as time goes by, old jobs become redundant and new jobs become available that would have been inconceivable a few decades prior. The matchstick makers and lamplighters of yore couldn't possibly have imagined that their descendants would be designing websites, testing video games, and developing machine-learning algorithms for search engines.

Over the last half-century, however, jobs have been erased by technological advancement at an alarmingly fast pace. From switchboard operators to railway ticket sellers and the litany of factory jobs in between, it seems that no line of work is completely without risk of automation - even McDonald’s is creeping closer to fully-automated ordering with the growing influx of self-service machines.

But let’s not throw in the towel just yet. There are still plenty of vocations left that require a human touch!

What jobs are safe from automation?

According to BusinessInsider.com, the top 10 jobs least likely to become automated are almost exclusively health and social care role, with occupational therapists topping the list. Social workers are not far behind, closely followed by dentists, physicians, surgeons and nutritionists.

Outside of healthcare, creative jobs like choreography and exhibit designers also rank highly on the list. Creeping into the wider top 20, counselling and psychology roles rank well, as does teaching, while medical health and medical science are also fairly safe from the creeping threat of automation.

Industries likeliest to remain safe from automation

An Oxford University study titled The Future of Employment provides a great deal of insight into what human employment will look like in the future and, more importantly, the areas where human brains are most crucial.

Overall, healthcare and social sciences are the industries least likely to be automated in the foreseeable future. The human aspects of therapy and social care make these sectors relatively inaccessible for artificial intelligences. Boasting seven of the top ten jobs in the list, it seems that a career in healthcare is a fairly safe bet that shouldn’t see too much change in the foreseeable future.

Similarly, the emotional connection that's needed in the education sector also seems likely to ensure a steady future for teachers. Art & Design, Sport & Entertainment and Media are three other avenues that require individualistic input that is hard to replace with technology.

Skills needed for the jobs of the future

So what skills are most likely to secure steady employment in the future? Many industry experts point to three notable attributes:

  • Creativity - The expressive nature of creative jobs is not something that can be digitally automated, making proficiency in this a true asset that’s virtually future-proof.

  • Emotional intelligence - Empathy and emotional understanding are human characteristics that are notably absent in machines, safeguarding roles where human interaction is paramount. This is a big part of why healthcare professionals and social workers are unlikely to be replace by robots any time soon.

  • STEM proficiency - STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. These complex fields are relatively safe from automation, so a science or engineering degree should stand you in good stead for the future.

Looking for a career in the science or technology industries? Click the link below to browse vacancies from all over the UK!

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Lab Technician

When you hear the phrase 'lab technician', you probably picture the medical laboratory technicians you've seen gazing into microscopes and exchanging quips with the doctors on TV shows like House, Scrubs and Grey's Anatomy.

But lab technicians aren't exclusively found in hospitals - they work in all sorts of different industries, from energy to manufacturing. Indeed, 'laboratory technician' is a fairly broad term that can apply to just about anyone who works with scientific equipment in a lab environment.

Lab Technician Job Description

As you'd expect, lab technicians work almost entirely within laboratories, where they carry out a range of tasks, tests and experiments. This could mean:

  • Analysing DNA samples for the police
  • Diagnosing diseases in a hospital
  • Testing foodstuffs to make sure they're safe for consumption
  • Developing new technologies and solutions
In addition to performing tests/experiments and recording the results, laboratory technicians are often responsible for the running and maintenance of the lab itself, too. A lab technician's more humdrum tasks might include cleaning test tubes, taking inventory, and labelling key items for ease of identification.

Job Requirements

In order to land yourself a lab technician job, you will generally need a degree in a relevant discipline (e.g. Molecular Biology if you will be working with DNA samples).

As ever, relevant experience will make you more attractive to potential employers, but you will also need to prove that you possess the skills/knowledge necessary to carry out the tasks that will be assigned to you.

Salary

The average lab technician in the UK makes around £21,000 per year, but as with most roles, salaries vary depending on experience and line of work. Some laboratory technicians make upwards of £30,000 per year.

If you'd like to see some more specific lab technician job descriptions, please use the link below to browse the latest lab tech vacancies from Hyper Recruitment Solutions.

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Outdoor Science Jobs

A degree in science doesn't mean that you have to spend your whole career in a laboratory.

If you love science but prefer working outdoors, there are still plenty of possibilities for you to explore! Here are some outdoor science jobs that could be perfect for a person like you:

  • Environmental Scientist – Environmental scientists study the effects of human activities on the world around us. They do this by conducting tests and analysing data as a means to both prevent and solve environmental problems. They gather samples and data in the field, then perform tests in a lab. As a result of increased pressure on governments and industries to minimise the harmful effects that their activities have on the world, the demand for environmental scientists is currently higher than ever.

  • Ecologist – An ecologist's job is to study ecosystems, the distribution of organisms, and the relationship between those organisms and their environment. They tend to focus on a particular subject area, such as marine, freshwater or terrestrial ecology.

  • Geologist – The role of a geologist is to study processes of the earth (such as floods, earthquakes and landslides) and to survey land and produce safe building plans. They also investigate precious materials - such as minerals, metals, oils, water and natural gas - and come up with ways to extract them. Geologists are concerned with changes that occur over time, such as land formation and climate change, and they tend to spend a lot of their working lives outdoors.

  • Biologist – The job of a biologist is to study organisms (such as bacteria, humans and animals) and their relationship with the surrounding environment. This helps us to better understand how the organism's body operates and how external factors impact each organism. Using basic research methods, a biologist will work to prove or disprove theories about how organisms work, as well as contributing to the discovery of medicinal advancements such as developing new fruits and vegetables that are less prone to pests and disease.

  • Patent Attorney – A patent attorney's job requires both scientific and legal knowledge, focusing on the protection of technology through the obtaining of patents. As a patent attorney, you will assess whether inventions are new and innovative, and this will mean spending a lot of time out and about; you'll also lead individual inventors or organisations through the process required to obtain a patent, and then act to impose inventors' rights if patents have been impeded.

This is just a sample of the many available outdoor science jobs that are (mostly) based outside of the traditional lab setting.

Here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions, we strive to help every individual find their perfect science role, whether that be in a lab or the great outdoors. For career advice, job-hunting guidance or further information on the scientific job market, please do not hesitate to contact us today - or use the link below to view our latest scientific vacancies.

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Scientist Quiz

Clinical Science Jobs

The role of a clinical scientist is extremely important. They are responsible for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of illnesses, medical conditions and diseases.

As a clinical scientist, you’ll more than likely find yourself working within a laboratory environment, undertaking complex data analysis and utilising sophisticated software to analyse tests and results. You will work as part of a team containing a variety of specialist skill sets, such as doctors, nurses and biomedical scientists who offer professional advice, interpretation of medical results and appropriate testing methods. All of these play a fundamental role in research and the development of new drugs.

Browse our latest clinical science jobs here, or read on to find out more about this line of work.

Roles

Within the laboratory, a clinical scientist may specialise in a variety of different areas, such as:

  • Microbiology – This is the study of microbes such as viruses and bacteria, conducted to aid in the diagnosis, control and prevention of diseases and infections.

  • Genomics – The study of genetic mapping and DNA sequences to enhance the early diagnosis and inherited traits and diseases.

  • Blood Sciences – Studies focus on the chemical processes within living tissues and cells such as proteins and DNA.

  • Transplant Sciences – Involves ensuring that donated organs are correctly matched to recipients and working to reduce immune-rejection.

Each of these specialist subjects involves various activities and responsibilities. Depending on your chosen area of work, duties could include researching, developing and testing new approaches for diagnosing and treating conditions; creating and following protocols and quality control methods to ensure reliable and accurate results; or interpreting results and creating reports for colleagues to provide patients with therapeutic, diagnostic and prognostic information, as well as treatment options.

What you’ll need to be a clinical scientist

Qualifications

In order to become a clinical scientist, you will need:

  • A degree in life sciences, engineering, physics, or related to medicine
  • The completion of the 3-year NHS Healthcare Scientists Training Programme (STP)
  • Registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

Skills & Abilities

Obviously, clinical science workers require certain specific skills and abilities in order to perform successfully. The most important competencies include:

  • The ability to demonstrate strong experimental and analytical skills
  • Incredible attention to detail
  • The ability to be thorough and present findings in a coherent manner
  • The ability to work well within a team and communicate effectively
  • The ability to work under pressure
  • The ability to interpret information in a precise and accurate manner

The clinical science industry is a complex and ever-changing field that requires the very best individuals in order to move forward. We at Hyper Recruitment Solutions are very experienced clinical science recruiters, and we have a great passion for helping scientists find their perfect roles.

Use the links below to learn more about the clinical science industry, or to apply for clinical vacancies online.

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