Chemical Engineer

Chemical engineering is in many ways the archetypal science job, right down to the traditional white lab coat. It is also a very stimulating field of work; writing in the Guardian, Samantha Tyson of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) described chemical engineering as “all about turning raw materials into useful, everyday products”.

Qualified chemical engineers can also look forward to decent remuneration - a recent IChemE salary survey found that starting wages average somewhere in the region of £29,500 per year. More experienced chartered chemical engineers can expect to earn as much as £70,000, or even higher in certain industries (such as oil and contracting).

But how does one become a chemical engineer in the first place?

As with other science jobs, you need the right characteristics.

Don't be fooled too much by the 'chemical' bit of this particular job title - if you wish to become a chemical engineer, strong mathematical abilities are just as important as a firm grasp of chemistry. According to Tyson, maths, physics and chemistry are the most common A-levels taken by chemical engineering students.

But you will also need many other, often more general skills and attributes to secure a job in chemical engineering. These range from project and resource management skills and oral and written communication skills to analytical skills, problem solving, and the ability to work as part of a team.

Graduates seeking chemical engineering jobs will also be expected to possess strong IT skills, commercial and business awareness and the capacity to motivate and lead a team.

What qualifications will you require?

You won't normally be able to secure a role as a chemical engineer unless you have a BEng degree or a BTEC HNC or HND in chemical or process engineering. Admission to a chemical engineering degree course generally depends on you having at least five A*-C GCSEs, as well as two A-levels (including maths and at least one science subject).

If you lack maths and science qualifications, some universities offer a foundation year to help get you up to speed. As always, you should double-check the exact entry requirements with individual colleges.

It can be advantageous for those wishing to build an especially lucrative career in chemical engineering to also possess a master's degree (MEng) in addition to a first degree in chemical engineering. Those with a degree in a different branch of engineering (or a related subject such as chemistry or polymer science) may opt to take an MSc postgraduate degree in chemical or process engineering to boost their career prospects.

Chemical engineering is an extremely diverse field of work.

It's difficult to sum up everything that chemical engineers do in just a few lines. Depending on the exact role and sector in which you work, you may find yourself...

  • Designing plant and equipment configuration
  • Setting up scale-up and scale-down processes
  • Assessing options for plant expansion
  • Applying new technologies and researching new products
...among an incredibly wide range of other potential duties.

There are plenty of opportunities for progression, too. According to the National Careers Service, these include becoming a senior process or design engineer; progressing into a research and development manager role; or becoming a plant manager or overall operations manager. Consultancy work is another option.

Remember that Hyper Recruitment Solutions is a leading science recruitment agency serving those on the lookout for all manner of engineering roles, including process or chemical engineering. Click through to learn more about our in-depth expertise in this area.

Relationships - both personal and professional - are a fact of life, and if you wish to make the swiftest progress up the science career ladder, you will almost certainly need to cultivate harmonious relationships with those of relevance to your chosen sector. 

Of course, we serve those seeking roles in any of a broad range of science sectors here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions, from biotechnology and pharmacology to energy and medical devices.

But in a world in which - according to one study shared on LinkedIn - as many as 85% of jobs are filled via networking, there are undoubted benefits to expanding your range of science-related contacts beyond simply signing up with a leading recruitment agency.

Here are some tips on how to do it.

Focus on quality, not just quantity

It's easy for many people attracted to the mystique of networking to think it's about little more than building a long list of contacts. However, what really matters is the quality of those contacts and how well connected you are to them. 

The best contacts aren't just those who have heard a rumour about a job opening at X company or Y company, or any other random person. Instead, they're the people who can give you useful and current information and additional relevant contacts. They are likely to be able to give you informed advice, in addition to meaningful assistance with your applications for science jobs.

But think, too, about how tight and personal the bond is with the most potentially useful contacts you already have. Do you know their name, job title and specific areas of interest? What about their educational history or family?

If you can get in phone contact with that contact and receive a positive, receptive response to whatever you ask them, they are a useful contact. Otherwise, they are simply one more name in your database.

Treat contacts with respect

Do you treat your contacts as potential allies - people who you listen to and who you can help with their own pain points, rather than merely people who can give you what they want? Your message to your contacts should be that you value them highly and - ideally - want to support and help them.

After all, showing respect to your contacts will maximise the likelihood that they respond in kind.

Part of this process should be being clear about what you want from that contact before approaching them, so that you do not waste their - or your - time. What kind of science job are you looking for, and what kind of boss are you seeking? Is this a person who is likely to help you, given your answers to the aforementioned questions?

Be patient and appreciative

Cultivating a contacts list that will actually help you to secure that longed-for science job will require a lot of patience and appreciation. Make sure you express your gratitude by personally thanking those who give you any form of help with your job search, and don't forget to 'check in' periodically and attempt to reciprocate with your own assistance, if you can.

According to one recent survey of US adults by Pew Research Center, 66% used connections with close friends or family in their most recent job search, while 63% used professional or work connections and 55% used acquaintances or friends of friends.

Clearly, then, networking looks unlikely to become any less important in the job search process any time soon. So, why not create what may prove to be one of your most crucial contacts of all, by making use of our considerable expertise in any of a vast range of science industries here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions?


Today’s employers don’t exactly lack appreciation of the need for employee engagement – 48% of respondents to one recent Deloitte survey cited it as “very important”. However, a 2015 report from Red Letter Days for Business stated that only just over a third of employees in Britain – 36% - were “highly engaged”.

Perhaps part of the problem stopping many organisations both within and outside the science sectors from boosting the engagement levels of their employees is an inability to recognise such engagement in the first place.

Here are some of the common signs of a lack of engagement – as well as of high levels of engagement – in your staff.  

Signs of a disengaged employee

Where do we start with all of the ways to spot a disengaged employee? You may notice that they only do a bare minimum amount and standard of work, completing assignments in a manner that is sloppy or only just “good enough”. It suggests an employee who isn’t much interested in the consequences of such low standards for them or their company.

A worker with poor levels of engagement may also avoid involvement in team activities, although it is important here not to confuse an apparent lack of interest with a tendency towards introversion. Some of your staff members are likely to prefer working quietly on their own, which is fine, but showing a complete lack of support to colleagues or disgruntlement when asked to participate in group initiatives is a different matter.  

A disengaged employee is also much more likely to complain about their work and blame others for their mistakes. It is vital here to consider potentially legitimate grievances, such as your employee being overworked or not being allowed by the culture of your company to make errors. By encouraging your employees to admit honest mistakes instead of shaming them for occasionally getting things wrong, you can make them less fearful and help to boost their engagement and performance levels.

So, how do you know you have an engaged worker?

A truly engaged employee is, of course, the opposite of many of these characteristics. They are employees who take the initiative instead of doing the bare minimum, motivate instead of complain, and easily concentrate on their tasks instead of losing focus.

Such an employee is also likely to own up to their mistakes out of a wish to learn from them, collaborate with their co-workers and love their company instead of looking for a new role elsewhere.

With Millennials especially inclined to ‘job hop’ – two in three of them signalling a wish to leave their present employment by 2020, according to the 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey – bolstering employee engagement to cultivate employee loyalty will only become all the more crucial for science employers in the years ahead.

Talk to us about your talent sourcing challenges

As all of the above indicates, recruiting staff who represent a good fit for your science organisation’s culture isn’t all that you have to do to ensure high levels of engagement. However, it could certainly have a role in the prevention and mitigation of employee retention headaches in the years to come.

Whether your firm is involved in the pharmaceutical, engineering, medical device or any other science or technology sector, and whatever your other specialised talent sourcing requirements may be, our bespoke staffing solutions help to ensure you have the best possible employees adding value to your business. Make Hyper Recruitment Solutions your dependable science recruitment partner. 

It can’t be denied that we are in a very social media-oriented world these days – indeed, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), a whopping 91% of online adults aged 16-24 use social networks.

However, while social media undoubtedly brings you many opportunities to present yourself to great advantage when seeking science jobs, it also brings very real risks to your online reputation.

We’ve probably all heard stories about that relative, friend or friend of a friend who lost or struggled to get a job due to that controversial tweet or compromising Facebook photo. So, can you do to ‘clean up’ your social media presence for job seeking?

Take more control over profile privacy

The most popular social networks tend to offer all manner of settings for controlling the privacy of what we share. However, many of us simply leave the settings at their defaults, not realising how much we might be sharing with the whole world. 

Facebook makes it easy for you to check how public your profile content is – just head to your profile, click the ‘...’ at the top and then select ‘View As...’ to see what your profile looks like to a random viewer. You may find yourself shocked and hastily deleting cringeworthy past posts.

As for future content you post, it’s a good rule of thumb to presume everything you share will be public unless you have altered the settings – whether on an account or post-by-post basis – to restrict its audience.  

Pay particular attention to your photos

Research reported in the Daily Mail found that “unflattering photographs” topped the list of Britons’ common Internet regrets, followed by “raucous, drunken photos”. So for your social media clean up, you are going to have to go through your photos.

The 2,000 social media users quizzed by Custard Online Marketing also admitted to thinking twice about “vain selfies”, “photos of me, doing things I shouldn’t have done” and “photos of me in skimpy clothing/underwear”.

If all of the above suggests anything, it’s that we certainly care about how the images we share online affect how others perceive us. If that’s the case, you can certainly expect science recruitment agencies and employers to care about how your own image would reflect on them, so you should take the time to monitor your photos.

While it is often now possible on social media to control other people’s ability to tag you in photos, that doesn’t mean the photos don’t exist. So if you see an image that you wish to have removed, ask the person who posted it or get in touch with that social network’s support team.

Regularly Google yourself

You can almost guarantee that someone – whether a potential employer, friend, family member or acquaintance – has Googled your name in the past. What will a science employer see if they Google your name right now? Is there anything – including in the video and images sections – that might deter them from giving you an offer?

This is why you should routinely Google yourself to ensure that your online presence remains squeaky clean, not least as there may be content posted about you on other social networks.

Again, if you see something that might not be acceptable, you may be able to have it removed simply by appealing to whoever first posted it. On other occasions, that may not be possible, but there’s no harm in trying.

With one People Management report suggesting that about a third of employers have rejected candidates on the basis of their social media profile, it’s clear that this isn’t an aspect of your online presence you can overlook.

While having your social media clean up, it’s also vital to ensure you have the right science recruitment agency by your side to assist you with your job search. Contact Hyper Recruitment Solutions now about our Candidate Commitment that outlines what we can do to help you find your dream science role.  


Bioinformatics is far from the best-known field of science jobs, but it is a steadily emerging and increasingly important one. It has been described in various ways, including – by the Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University – as “the application of computational techniques to analyse the information associated with biomolecules on a large-scale”.

A perhaps simpler way to understand it is as an amalgamation of biology, IT and computer science into a single subject. With ‘big data’ now ubiquitous across a wide range of industries, including life sciences research, scientists with computer science know-how are well-placed to take advantage of the ever-increasing breadth of career opportunities in the burgeoning bioinformatics sector.

What do bioinformaticists do?

Another way to describe the chief task of a bioinformaticist is as the logging, coding and/or retrieval of all biological information – especially proteins, DNA and mRNA – in an easily accessible format.

At the most basic level, a bioinformaticist is responsible for creating and maintaining databases of biological information. The majority of such databases consist of nucleic acid sequences and the protein sequences derived from them.

However, the most challenging bioinformatics tasks involve the analysis of sequence information, encompassing not only the discovery of the genes in DNA sequences but also the development of methods to predict the structure and/or function of newly found proteins and structural RNA sequences.

Such duties as the clustering of protein sequences into families, the alignment of similar proteins and the generation of phylogenetic trees are also central to the work of the best-qualified bioinformatics professionals.

Why is bioinformatics becoming so relevant?

It seems that there has never been a greater amount of biological data being generated than there is now, with the point at which biology, statistics and computer science cross bringing an abundance of new and exciting opportunities. Sure enough, professionals with experience of identifying, compiling, analysing and visualising huge amounts of biological and healthcare information have also never been in greater demand.

The flowering of bioinformatics as its own field has been attributed in part to a change in how industry and academia perceive it. As one bioinformatics professor, Wim Van Criekinge, has observed in an article by Science magazine: “Scientists and companies used to look at bioinformatics as a tool... but the subject has evolved from a service, like histology, to its own research arena... bioinformaticists are now the motor of the innovation.”

What are the main bioinformatics employers?

Those seeking rewarding bioinformatics roles are well-advised to look towards Cambridge, where several of the big research institutes in this field, including the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the European Bioinformatics Institute, can be found.

However, candidates with bioinformatics skills are also regularly recruited by big pharmaceutical companies such as AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline. Finally, there are also various smaller firms making use of bioinformatics, including those involved in personal care products, industrial organisms and agricultural applications.

Whatever the bioinformatics role to which you aspire may be – perhaps as a bioinformatician, biostatistician, head of bioinformatics or any of a broad range of other jobs – we can help you to find and secure it here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions.

Learn more about the depth of specialist expertise that we can offer to bioinformatics candidates, as well as the relevant available jobs for which you can apply right now. 

User Menu

Month List