The role of a biologist is a popular one within the field of science - and it's easy to see why.
Specialising in the study of humans, plants and animals, along with the environments in which they inhabit, to say it's an interesting job would be a gross understatement.
Constantly learning with an inquisitive nature, biologists often hone their pursuit for information on a single field, such as biochemistry or zoology, becoming experts in a given subject area.
However, while the role itself may be exciting, rewarding and, at times, fascinating, are biologists in demand in 2020 and beyond?
Let's find out...
A Long Time Coming
Even as far back as the 1950s, people within the science sector have been extolling the virtues of jobs in biology, with predictions forecasting a growing demand for biologists, as seen in Howard A. Meyerhoff's appropriately titled 1955 journal, The Demand for Biologists.
Some 30 years later, in the May 1988 edition of The Scientist magazine, industry experts once again projected that demand for biologists showed "strong indications of exceeding the supply significantly" as a result of increasing numbers of positions and decreasing output from universities, as well as growth in size and number of biotechnology companies.
Demand for Biologists in 2020
Today, that 20th-century prognosis can be relabelled a veritable premonition. As we enter the world of 2020, demand for those proficient in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) is extremely high and biologists are most certainly included in that assessment.
In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the US, demand for biologists is expected to increase even further over the next decade, with a projected rise of around 5%. This stance has been backed by numerous reliable sources, including The Princeton Review.
Meanwhile, additional sources and job specialists have predicted rises by almost double that, painting the role of a biologist in an attractive light for those pursuing an education/career in life sciences.
Limitations for Biologist Jobs
While the demand for biologists - particularly zoologists and wildlife biologists - is set to increase over the next decade, it's worth noting that the demand isn't the only statistic to keep in mind.
Prospects for biologists also depend largely on the funding behind it. While pharmaceutical companies will continue to fund projects they deem to have potentially lucrative results, private institutions (such as universities and healthcare foundations) will likely be hindered by budget constraints.
Similarly, government-led research.
As a result, experts within the industry are advising would-be biologists to further their education to increase their chances of success within the industry, noting the potential benefits of finding a specialism and honing technical skills.
Biologist Jobs in the Future
Science is an ever-evolving industry with the potential to change with every passing year. As a result, so too do the roles within it and biologist jobs are no different.
Life sciences is a dynamic field that blends various specialist fields, creating bespoke jobs that didn't even exist just years prior.
Similarly, biologist jobs within the life sciences umbrella could well take the same route. Who knows, there may be a new biologist role in a few years' time that changes the game entirely!
That being said, much like it did in the 50s and the 80s, the future looks bright for those looking to pursue a career as a biologist. However, when it comes to predicting just how that job will look in 10 years' time, only time will tell.
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