STEM workers

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. These disciplines are often referred to collectively, especially in government policies, education / employment statistics, and news articles - you've probably seen a lot of headlines like these:

STEM jobs were hardest to fill in 2016

Women still under-represented in STEM industries, report finds

New STEM education programme rolled out in selected schools

As you'll know if you've ever read any of the stories attached to those headlines, STEM as a whole has a lot of problems at the moment. Many organisations have great difficulty finding qualified workers to fill demanding science jobs, and in addition to the much-publicised lack of diversity in STEM fields, there simply aren't enough young people participating and pursuing a future in STEM, which means that the problems faced by these industries will likely get worse as time goes on.

But is that an issue for everyone else? Just how important is STEM to the world at large?

Why STEM should be important to everyone

The answer, of course, is that STEM is very, very important for the whole planet, and crucial to the continued prosperity of the human race. It hopefully goes without saying that modern society as we know it relies heavily on STEM industries and the talented workers within those industries. Here are just three examples:

  • Computers - The modern world relies on computers to an extent that would have been virtually unimaginable just a few decades ago. We use computers to talk to friends, do the shopping, listen to music, and learn about everything from the history of the world to the correct method for laying a floor. Computers tell us where to go and what's happening there. You probably use computers in any number of different ways over the course of an average day, and it's all because of skilled people in STEM roles who worked hard to make this possible.

  • Medicine - While it's unlikely that mankind will ever eradicate all diseases, it cannot be understated how much safer we all are today thanks to modern medicine. In the last century alone, talented STEM workers saved countless lives by curing smallpox and developing vaccines for polio, measles, diphtheria, and countless other illnesses. One expert has predicted that we will see a "sudden surge" in effective cancer treatments within the next five to ten years. At this very moment, countless people are living and breathing and going about their lives because of the medical advances made by STEM workers.

  • Transport - It's easy to take modern transportation systems for granted. Cars allow you to travel miles in minutes; railways keep entire countries connected; aeroplanes take thousands of people from one side of the world to the other every day. Once again, all of this is thanks to STEM visionaries who never stop working to bring the world closer together and create more and more efficient ways to get from A to B.

Image courtesy of pixabay.com.



If the term ‘research scientist’ sounds quite broad, that’s because it is – indeed, research scientists are active in almost every area of science. Nonetheless, whether you are interested in a career in geosciences, meteorology, pharmacology or something different altogether, it’s helpful to know something about what life as a research scientist generally involves.

Working in a lab is more exciting than it sounds

Before we go any further – yes, life as a research scientist very much lives up to the stereotype of being based almost entirely in a laboratory, although of course, that may be music to your ears rather than something to dread!

In any case, the range of employers of research scientists is extremely diverse, encompassing the likes of government laboratories, utilities providers, environmental agencies, pharmaceuticals companies, public funded research councils and specialist research organisations and consultancies.

Much the same can be said of the many responsibilities – as a research scientist, you could find yourself taking on tasks ranging from the planning and conducting of experiments and recording and analysing data, to the carrying out of fieldwork and the presentation of results to senior or other research staff.

What other aspects of the job do you need to know about?

If you are thinking of aiming for a career as a research scientist, it’s helpful to know what personal qualities and professional qualifications will serve you best in your quest. It should go without saying that research and analytical skills are vital, but you will also need to possess excellent communication and presentation skills and an ability to teach.

As for more formal qualifications, as outlined by the National Careers Service, a 2:1 degree in a relevant science subject is usually expected for entry. In practice, you will almost certainly need a relevant postgraduate qualification as well, such as a PhD or research-based MSc, particularly for permanent roles. Experience of working in a research setting could also aid your search for such science jobs.

Your working patterns, hours and environment will depend on the kind of employer for which you are employed as a research scientist. Those working in a university research department can usually expect a 35-hour, 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday working week. If you work in industry, however, there may be a greater expectation that you fit in with shift patterns, such as in the evening, at the weekend or on public holidays.

Research scientists can look forward to good progression opportunities

There’s a good level of scope for career advancement as a research scientist. While salaries start at an average of about £14,000 a year, they can go up to as much as £60,000, such as if you progress from a scientist with research councils and institutes to senior research or laboratory management positions.

Research scientists in academic roles who are more experienced and have published original research often rise to the status of senior research fellow or professor, leading their own teams.

There’s a lot to learn about what it’s like to be a research scientist, as well as about how we can help you to effectively compete for science jobs. Get in touch with Hyper Recruitment Solutions today about the work that we do to assist talented graduates and professionals into rewarding science roles, or explore the National Careers Service’s guides to some of the most exciting related jobs in science and research
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.


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. 

Continual development and innovation in medical devices is crucial to ensuring quality of life in the UK and across the world. The term ‘medical devices’ is naturally an extremely broad one, encompassing such items as syringes, wheelchairs, pacemakers, X-ray machines, orthopaedic devices, coronary artery stents and many more.

Regardless, there can be little doubt about the field’s great importance in safeguarding the wellbeing of our increasingly health-aware population.

It is thanks to medical devices that diseases can be detected earlier and diagnoses, treatment and patient monitoring relentlessly improved. Breakthroughs and refinements in medical device technology have also been crucial for reducing the costs of healthcare at a time when health services around the world – not least the NHS – seem to be under greater financial pressure than ever.

What is the state of the UK medical device industry today?

A quick glance at the key statistics relating to the UK’s present medical device industry should serve to further underline its importance. According to the Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI), the UK medical technology sector was made up of more than 2,000 companies as of 2009, with four-fifths of those being small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Emergo has said that the UK medical device market was valued at $9.9 billion in 2008, making it the third largest in Europe behind Germany and France. About 50,000 people are said to be employed in the sector, which is also trade positive in the UK, exporting more than it imports. It is a key part of a wider life sciences industry that has been hailed as one of the key contributors to the UK economy. 

However, ABHI has also said that “action is needed if the UK is to continue to thrive in this area and patients are to realise the full benefits of medical technology”. Furthermore, it’s clear that with many of the most exciting and lucrative science jobs today being in medical devices, science recruitment agencies like Hyper Recruitment Solutions have a crucial role to play in helping to match the right talent to the right medical device industry vacancies and employers.  

What you need to know if you are interested in a medical devices career

Although medical devices tend to be based on mechanical, electrical and/or materials engineering, which will place those with qualifications in any of these fields at a distinct advantage, prospective entrants to the sector are also expected to have a strong biological and biological sciences background.

The skill-set that you will require to succeed in the medical device sector will depend largely on the specific job in which you are interested. While, for example, a research and development role may place an emphasis on strong engineering skills, if you are to be tasked with the management of a team of people on a project, ‘softer’ skills like communication and team leadership will be crucial.

Meanwhile, ‘people skills’ and a willingness to travel are prerequisites for those working in the sales side of the sector, as is a high level of knowledge in – and enthusiasm for – the devices that they are to be responsible for selling. 

When seeking your next big role in the medical devices industry – whether it will be your first or the latest of many – you shouldn’t hesitate to draw upon our considerable sector-specific expertise here at Hyper Recruitment Solutions, including in such sub-areas as quality assurance, quality control, regulatory affairs, manufacturing, validation, clinical trials or any of a wide range of others.  


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