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!

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