Female scientist holding a test tube

If film and TV have taught us anything about scientists, it's that they all wear white lab coats, they're seldom seen without a test tube in hand, and they work exclusively within the confines of a lab.

However, while the stereotypical image of the zany scientist with wild hair, thick glasses and quirky foibles may be entertaining, the truth is far less eccentric and far more diverse.

Nevertheless, misconceptions such as these are commonplace not just in the media we consume but also in society as a whole. In fact, there are loads of myths about science that have almost become accepted as fact by the general public - and this affects the way people think about science jobs.

When it comes to common misconceptions about science jobs, there are a few that are particularly prevalent both inside and outside the industry. Here are some of the worst offenders that rear their ugly heads time after time.

 

You need a degree to pursue a career in science

This one is a biggie, and a common belief among jobseekers nationwide.

Admittedly, there is some truth to this. For example, you'll never become a medical doctor without years of formal training and that all-important piece of paper.

However, there are definitely avenues into science that don't require years spent in lecture halls racking up hefty university fees.

There are a variety of science jobs that can be entered into via company trainee initiatives and entry-level apprenticeship schemes.

Meanwhile, school-leaver programmes also offer young people a realistic route into scientific employment without a university degree.

 

Most science jobs will soon become automated

With technology evolving more and more with each passing year, it's natural that many jobs will fall by the wayside as a result of technological advancement making certain manual tasks obsolete.

In 2019, the BBC even ran article claiming that up to 20 million manufacturing jobs around the world would be replaced by robots by 2030 based on analysis by Oxford Economics.

However, while that undoubtedly makes for a spectacular headline, this isn't so much a bold prediction as it is a logical statement, no different to how factory workers were given their marching orders in favour of automated machinery back in the 60s.

However, most STEM jobs are relatively safe from automation. In fact, due to a skills shortage within STEM fields, there is actually a growing demand for skilled scientific workers. Roles such as data scientist are particularly safe from automation.

READ MORE: Jobs Least Likely to Be Automated

In fact, EDF Energy's 'Jobs of the Future' study found that jobs in science, research, engineering and technology will rise at double the rate of other occupations over the coming years.

The same report also went on to claim that science-focused industries are projected to account for 28% of job openings in the UK, equating to just over 2.8 million jobs in total.

Meanwhile, demand for traditional science, research, engineering and technology jobs will remain high, driven by the government's commitment to ongoing investment in infrastructure.

 

Science jobs are for men only

The notion that science is a boys-only club has existed for quite some time and, while that mentality may seem archaic, there is evidence to back it up.

For example, in 2017, just under 10% of successful candidates in A-level computer science were girls. The knock-on effect of this also resulted in girls representing less than 14% of all computer science students in UK.

However, while the female population may be under-represented in certain areas of science (notably computer science), physical science-related degrees have seen a year-on-year increase in the number of female graduates.

HESA data shows that the number of students studying science-related courses at university in the 2017/2018 academic year was virtually an equal split between genders, with a 49% contingent of females to the 51% of males.

Better still, the 2019 A-level results showed that girls actually outnumbered the boys for the first time ever in terms of participation, with 50.3% to 49.7% for biology, chemistry and physics.

With results and data clearly showing a reasonably even split between the two sexes, the idea that women aren't interested in science jobs is one that can be well and truly put to rest.

 

Creativity has no place in science

Science often gets a bad rap for being a boring industry, full of laborious theory and dull characters; however, in reality, this couldn't be further from the truth. Innovation is the core principle of most science jobs, with the pursuit of revolutionary advancement and ground-breaking discovery two recurring themes.

Without creative minds who think outside the box and colour outside the lines, scientific innovation would not be possible. From creating and implementing experimental treatments to developing new technologies and breaking new ground, creativity is at the heart of all scientific innovation.

In fact, the constantly-evolving landscape of science has led to the creation of many brand new jobs that simply didn't exist until recently. Best of all, with science showing no signs of slowing down, this is a trend that is only going to continue, making for some exciting times to come!

Browse Science Jobs >

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life science careers

Life science is an amazing field to work in if you're interested in living organisms and their interactions with the world around them. Many people choose a career in life sciences because they have a natural curiosity about the world.

What sets life science apart from other 'living' sciences like biology, is that it addresses much broader issues including ecosystems, medicine, physics and even life in space. This makes life science careers particularly appealing for budding scientists with a great understanding of lots of different subjects.

Read More: Are Life Sciences and Biology the Same Thing?

 

What kind of life science careers are out there?

Life science careers are incredibly varied! Here are a couple of careers that you could consider if you're interested in life science as a full-time job. This should give you a good idea of the variety of careers in life science.

 

Microbiologist

If you're interested in microscopic organisms, this is the life science career for you. You will use your research to make changes in industries like agriculture, medicine and food production.

Read More: What does a microbiologist do?

 

Research Assistant

For people who love discovering new things and providing a helping hand where necessary, working as a research assistant is a great career. Research assistants aren't directly responsible for the outcome of the research, but they do help the principal researcher to do the best job possible.

Read More: What's it really like to work as a research scientist?

 

Industrial Pharmacist

If you're interested in medicines and the development of new drugs then this is the life science career for you. Industrial pharmacists are involved with the clinical trials, quality assurance, and the marketing of new drugs (amongst other things). This life science career will have you saving lives and curing new diseases!

Read More: 5 reasons you should consider a pharmaceutical role

 

Computational biologist

This form of biology is interwoven with data science, a career that's great for scientists with a passion for technology. You will look at theoretical methods and use mathematical modelling and computational simulation to gather information about biology.

These are just a few of the life science careers that you can choose from. Hopefully, this gives you some inspiration to look into life science careers further.

Life Science Jobs

Pharmacist in lab

A degree in pharmacy requires five years of study, typically including a four-year master's degree with an additional year of pre-registration training. Students are then required to pass a further pre-reg exam to confirm their eligibility.

With five years of dedicated and extensive training, it's wise to ask the question 'are pharmacists in demand' before you consider this vocation as a career and jump in with both feet.

 

Are Pharmacists in Demand?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of pharmacists is expected to show little to no change over the next decade; however, employment in retail pharmacies is expected to be impacted by the growing number of online pharmacies.

That being said, the story seems to be notably different from a domestic perspective on British soil. In 2018, The Pharmaceutical Journal published an article warning that Brexit could lead to a significant shortage of pharmacists in the UK.

Statistically, the number of pharmacists from the European Economic Area registering to practise in the UK has fallen by 80% since the Brexit vote. Should that trend continue, pharmacists could be in short supply, at least on these shores.

 

Mixed Messages

While the skills shortage should theoretically create lots of opportunities for qualified British pharmacists, it's worth noting that the world of pharmacy isn't the same as it was several years ago.

A combination of budget cuts and an increase in pharmacy schools over the last few years has led to lower wages, and many within the industry have been actively discouraging the younger generation from entering this field.

 

Clinical Pharmacists

One primary area that has seen a notable influx of pharmacist jobs has been GP surgeries. As a result, it's become increasingly common to see pharmacists present in medical centres and group practices in the local community.

The duties of a clinical pharmacist include carrying out structured medication reviews for patients with ongoing health problems and improving patient care through a personable approach. The addition has made a valuable impact on service, improving a number of areas as a result.

The presence of pharmacists in a general practice surgery not only enhances the level of customer service, it also increases the capacity of the GP, optimises medicine use, and improves patient quality of life.

As a result of this successful trial, the positive trend looks set to continue, due in no small part to the NHS's renewed focus on general practices.

 

Long-Term Plans

According to the NHS Long Term Plan, the health service is aiming to increase the number of clinical pharmacists over the coming years, made all the more likely thanks to the GP five-year contract framework introduced in January 2019.

This new contract is expected to create an influx of significant funding for the NHS, ensuring funds to support an additional 20k health professionals by 2023/24. Best of all, this stat notably includes clinical pharmacists by name within that prospective framework.

According to the details outlined in the new scheme, additional funds will meet a recurrent 70% of employment costs for new clinical pharmacists, as these professionals become part of the Primary Care Network's workforce team.

As a result of the proposed plans, bigger teams of health professionals will work across PCNs in community teams, providing tailored care for patients and allowing GPs to focus more on patients with complex needs.

 

Jobs in Pharmacy

In addition to NHS pharmacists working in hospitals and local surgeries, there are also job prospects within private hospitals and even the armed forces.

Meanwhile, private sector organisations also offer opportunities for pharmacists, notably pharmaceutical companies and those within the food and drink industry.

Research is another area that's frequently in need of pharmaceutical assistance, making academic pharmacy another worthy option.

 

Is Pharmacy in Demand?

So, while pharmacy and pharmacist jobs may not be the same as they were years ago, recent studies suggest that it is indeed a profession that will remain in demand.

In fact, according to prospects.ac.uk, over 82% of pharmacy graduates found employment within six months of graduation. Better yet, 98% of those employed graduates were working as pharmacists, providing positive employability prospects for anyone already studying pharmacy.

While the game may have changed somewhat in recent years, one thing that will not change is the core principles of the job.

Pharmacy remains a people-focused service and will always revolve around patients and medicine, regardless of whatever changes take place around it. Whether you are a people person studying pharmacy or you're already a fully-qualified pharmacist, a job in pharmacy offers a steady and fulfilling future.

Browse Pharmaceutical Jobs

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To the average person, a typical science job would involve standing around a lab in coats, looking into a microscope, playing with test tubes and staring at a screen all day long. While that may be true for some positions within the scientific community, not all are like this, with some allowing plenty of out-of-the-lab work.

It may come as a surprise to you but there are several science roles that require the worker to travel around from place to place. So, if you're someone who loves both science and travel and would like to find a position that combines your two passions, here is a list of the science jobs that you should be looking out for. 

 

Jobs involving science and travel 

There are many science-based positions that involve various travel requirements across several different areas within the science community. Here are some of the most popular.

 

Epidemiologists 

If you hadn't heard of epidemiology before 2020, you most certainly would have at one point or another during this year. Epidemiologists are public health scientists who study the causes and patterns of human diseases and injuries. A position that has become very relevant and prominent during the COVID-19 pandemic. An epidemiologist can travel to various locations around the world, not just in the country that they are based in, to carry out studies and collect data that will help to understand new and potential infectious diseases. Once they have gathered and analysed their data, epidemiologists often take part in developing programmes that aim to educate the public about the diseases they have studied. This may result in even more travel.

  • Salary - £24k - £100k+
  • Hours - 9am-5pm / Mon-Fri
  • Qualifications - Postgraduate degree (Masters or PhD) in epidemiology or related subject

 

Zoologists

A zoologist is a person that studies different species or groups of animals in order to understand their behaviours, social interactions, environments and physical characteristics. Often, they perform their studies within a particular habitat, which requires then to travel to that location wherever it may be. They use the data that they have collected to analyse and predict various factors concerning a particular species as well as aiding any conservation efforts.

  • Salary - £18k - £45k+
  • Hours - 9am-5pm / Mon-Fri - Hours can vary depending on studies, including weekend work.
  • Qualifications - Degree within a relevant subject such as zoology or biology.

 

Environmental Scientists 

These scientists work to protect the environment and rectify any hazards that they may come across, which more often than not will require them to travel to various locations to carry out fieldwork and monitor certain conditions. This involves taking samples of air, soil and water back to the lab to test for any contamination that may be present. Further travel may be required once they have their results so they can share their findings with others. Read our blog to learn more about environmental scientists.

  • Salary - £18k - £40k+
  • Hours - 9am-5pm / Mon-Fri - Hours can vary depending on studies, including weekend work.
  • Qualifications - Degree within a relevant subject such as environmental science or environmental engineering.

 

Anthropologists 

Anthropologists work within the realm of social science as they concern themselves with the study of various cultures and human behaviour. They can often be found within dig sites conducting field studies and excavations learning about the origins and history of humans as well as other populations. Their studies are analysed and presented to others which may influence policies and programmes that impact different cultures. This may require them to travel to various places around the world. 

  • Salary - £20k - £80k+
  • Hours - 9am-5pm / Mon-Fri - Hours can vary depending on studies, including weekend work.
  • Qualifications - Degree within a relevant subject such as social sciences followed by a postgraduate degree in anthropology  

 

And there you have it, some of the best science jobs that allow you to travel. There are more roles that combine both science and travel, so if any of the above do not immediately stand out to you, don't worry, there are others! If, however, any of the above roles interest you, you can find vacancies within these sectors right here at HRS. Click below to browse our full list of science jobs that we are recruiting for.

Our Science Jobs >

 

If you can't find the role you're looking for, don't worry, we can help! You can get in touch with a member of the Hyper Recruitment Solutions team today for further guidance in finding a science job that allows you to travel.

If you've not come across these two sciences before, you might be wondering - what's the difference? Surely both subjects involve the study of living organisms, maybe one subject is related to another.

Well, both of those statements are true - in a sense. They are very closely related subjects and both require the study of living organisms, but there are some subtle differences between the two subjects that you need to know about.

bugs and flowers

Biology

Biology is a core science subject, one that looks at all living organisms on the Earth. It takes into account topics like evolution, diseases, plants, reproduction, the human body and much much more. Biology is a natural science and helps to give students a really good understanding of basic concepts and ideas. 

There are a few different sub-disciplines within biology that include (but aren't limited too):

  • Anatomy
  • Cell Biology
  • Botany
  • Zoology
  • Microbiology

Life Sciences 

In comparison to biology, life sciences are more complex fields of study. Rather than focusing on natural processes exclusively, life sciences take nature, the development of life and the way it interacts with its environment into account.

Often, people who study life studies will cover a lot of aspects of biology during their study, but they might also look at ecosystems, pharmaceutical advancements and life in space! 

For this reason, life sciences are often considered a more suitable field of study for scientists who want to learn the fundamentals of science as well as applied science & methodology.

Life sciences courses are considered a more advanced option with lots of detailed information about the sub-disciples of biology and a few others.

Here are a few things you could study if you take an interest in life sciences:

  • Astrobiology
  • Bioinformatics
  • Quantum Biology
  • Immunology

If you're looking for a job in life sciences, we have lots of vacancies that are perfect for you. Whether you want to work as a biochemist, a quality assurance officer or a research technician, we have something to suit you!

Browse Life Science Vacancies Now >