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Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Science Grads: What To Expect When You Graduate

Yippee, the end is in sight! Three (or more) years of hard slog, seemingly endless revision for exams and hours of experimenting in the lab... and now graduation is within touching distance.

clip_image002Remember your first visit to a science lab at school? Who would have thought all that equipment would soon become so familiar. Then at uni, the apparatus seemed so much better, at least, that’s what you think at the moment. According to lab equipment specialists Tecomak, science graduates are continually astounded by the difference between the well-used equipment at their fingertips at school/college/university compared to the shiny, well-maintained commercial lab equipment provided by private research companies for their staff.

Confirmation comes in a well-known study by science policy researchers at the University of Manchester which concluded that many UK based international companies use universities in other countries for their research because there is not enough cash to buy vital equipment. The shocking results show that 4 out of 5 UK universities are unable to perform critical experiments because they can’t afford to buy the necessary kit. For commercial businesses like research labs, pharmaceutical companies, etc., their budgets (though still may be tight) can afford to keep up to date with the latest equipment. Since commercial research businesses need to deliver their research within strict time frames commercial labs are likely to have invested in more efficient equipment to process things at a faster rate, where universities have may struggle to get the funding for the upgrades.

So as your final uni year draws to a close, what comes next? After graduation, science graduates are generally in high demand. There is an acknowledged shortfall of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) graduates so check out our blog for last month’s post on chasing your dream job after uni and go for it. Just think, you’ll have bigger, better, shinier lab equipment to play with, and weird, exciting, bizarre research and experiments to carry out.

We recently had a job posted on StudentGems for a Polymer Development Chemist with a starting salary of £30,000. We can’t tell you much more because it was too technical for our non-scientific brains, but the job was filled pretty quickly, and a well-deserving graduate is now happily making the most of all that lab practice AND getting well paid for it!

clip_image004If you look at this handy infographic, a lot of the top 10 Majors with the highest employment rates are science related fields. The top 10 highest paid jobs however, appear to be medical related professions like surgeons and anaesthetists. Those who want to go into medicine need to make the right choices as early as GCSEs levels since medicine is notoriously competitive.

Whatever career you choose, make you have a good google around for potential job opportunities well before graduation. Try to think beyond the obvious organisations, if you are a chemist you are not limited to working for a pharmaceutical company, for example food and beverages companies are always looking for chemists to synthesise new tastes.

Best of luck science grads!

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