Whether you’re fresh out of university or you’re looking for a new challenge, finding a career in science can be hard work. Not everybody wants to stay in a lab, and not everyone has the luxury of being able to travel to the other side of the world for an exciting new research project.
If you love science but want to take an alternative path, then fear not: below, we’ve rounded up six exciting job opportunities that will utilise your skills and leave you satisfied and rewarded.
If you love to meet new people and want to be challenged in your job, medical sales could be a career path to consider. Medical sales representatives are responsible for selling medicine, drugs and equipment to healthcare professionals around the world – and if you’re good at what you do, you’ll generate handsome bonuses with performance-related pay.
There are some incredible opportunities for medical sales reps in the UK and around the world, working for medical giants such as GlaxoSmithKline, and smaller firms and laboratories. You’ll need to be qualified in dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, or life sciences, and you’ll likely specialise in a particular medical field where your knowledge will be put to the test.
Obviously, you’ll need to have strong communication skills, be target-driven, be persuasive and have confidence and perseverance. You should also have a background in networking and sales, so consider taking part in some work experience whilst you study to pad out your CV.
Science policy is an area of public policy that concerns the policies of science and research. It’s often closely linked to other policy goals, whether environmental monitoring, healthcare or technological innovation. Workers are responsible for considering ethical and political dimensions, finding ways that science and technology can work together to serve the public.
The most common employers within this field are government departments, but private sector businesses, think tanks and charities also look for help with science policy. To work within the sector, you’ll need to have a strong understanding of science, economics and politics and experience in writing and advocacy. Whilst many roles require a scientific degree, some roles may be focused more on research and analysis, so develop those skills whilst in education.
It’s important to note that science policy is an incredibly competitive sector. Almost every officer has a postgraduate degree in their subject, whether that’s science, politics or policy studies, so think of this option as a long-term goal. Indeed, working in other areas of pharmaceuticals and science may aid in your development and help you find employment as a policy offer.
If you love science but don’t want to spend all of your time on research, then science consultancy could be an option. Not only do you get to apply your scientific background and skills to client projects, but it will keep you on your toes and ensure no two days are the same. Consultancy is by no means easy, but the rewards make everything worthwhile.
You could enroll in a graduate scheme with a company such as Alfa, for example, which offers a £40,000 starting salary.
One alternative career path for those with a background in science is working in manufacturing and production. You could become a health and safety inspector (salary: £25,000-£30,000), for example, utilising your skills in science or engineering to protect people in the workplace.
You could become a nuclear engineer, and be responsible for building or even decommissioning a nuclear power station. Indeed, EDF believes it will need thousands of nuclear engineers over the next ten years as it maintains and winds down power plants across the country. And with a chemistry or physics degree, you’ll be able to apply your knowledge to a role, earning between £30,000 and £65,000 per year, depending on your experience and the nature of your role.
Other manufacturing and production job opportunities include quality managers (where you’ll be tasked with ensuring a product or service is fit for purpose and meets internal and external requirements) and a product development scientist (controlling manufacturing processes across a variety of products, whether that’s medicine, cosmetics, paints, or food).
If you don’t want to spend the next forty years of your life in a science lab, then a career in education is also something to consider. The Education Policy Institute has already warned that English schools will face a ‘severe’ shortage of science teachers in the coming years and has suggested a pay increase to persuade more qualified scientists to enter the profession.
Of course, teaching is not for everyone, but if you’re passionate about science and want to help inspire the future generation of scientists, then it’s a career option to consider. You could teach in primary, secondary, further or higher education depending on your experience, and generous grants and bursaries are often offered for graduates wanting to become a STEM teacher.
One reason that teaching is such an attractive career path is that 94% of newly qualified teachers (NQTs) are employed within six months , and with a salary of between £22,917 and £59,857, rising to up to £109,366 for headteachers, it’s a rewarding role for the right personalities.
Latest data from The Recruitment & Employment Confederation suggests the UK recruitment sector is now worth an incredible £32.2 billion – and that figure is rising as more businesses turn to recruiters to find top talent. Ripple Recruit, for example, is a top choice for companies that need scientific recruitment to find their next major scientific hire, and specialist agencies in other niches offer similar services to both their clients (businesses) and candidates (job seekers).
With your knowledge of the science industry, you could work as a recruitment consultant and help to match candidates’ skills and experiences to the right role. Not only is recruitment highly rewarded, with financial bonuses for hitting targets, but it allows you to build an impressive set of skills, including problem-solving, negotiation, relationship building and project management.
What’s more, you can help scientists achieve their goals and find their dream job, and solve your client’s’ problems by finding the very best candidates for their vacant position. You’ll be working in a competitive, results-driven market, and no two days will be the same. Take it from us: recruitment may be hard work, but it’s a lot of fun and the rewards make it worthwhile!
At Ripple Recruit, we’re passionate about helping candidates find a career that works for them. Covering biotech, chemical, nuclear, oil and gas, renewable, medical, pharmaceutical and FMCG, you can trust us to deliver relevant and exciting career opportunities your way, and connect you to employers who can change your life.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch today on 0118 370 4634 to speak with a member of the team, and check back soon for more tips and tricks on finding your dream job in the world of science.