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Science, Mathematics and Statistics

Future Trends

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  • In 2006, 34% of science related companies expected a growth in numbers employed over the next 3 years and 16% expected that their organisation would move into new products, service or research areas. This indicates both good prospects for the recruitment of new staff and expansion into new research areas to develop new products and services.
  • Retirement of crucial scientific staff is causing problems in the industry. This is an issue across a range of occupations from senior scientists, managers, laboratory scientists and technicians, researchers and production and design engineers, to sales and marketing staff.
  • Despite employers' experiencing skill shortages and gaps, recruitment continues to be mainly at graduate and postgraduate level.
  • A depth of scientific knowledge and skills, in Physics or Chemistry and Biological science, and Mathematics is important for those wishing to enter the industry.
  • There is also a need for interdisciplinary awareness, practical skills, experience in the industry, the ability to work to regulatory standards and good communication skills.

For specific scientific areas, the greatest skills shortages are in:

  • Clinical/pharmacology/translational medicine
  • Bioscience
  • Analytical and physical chemistry
  • Process and chemical engineering
  • In vivo sciences (clinical trials and animal testing)
  • Bioinformatics 

The following general scientific skills are identified as being areas where there are shortages:

  • biological and medical sciences
  • chemical sciences
  • process engineering
  • mathematics and statistics.

The main scientific skills gaps are in:

  • bioscience and molecular biology
  • analytical and physical chemistry
  • biochemistry
  • biotechnology/biopharmaceuticals
  • geomics/proteomics/metabolomics
  • synthetic organic chemistry/medicinal chemistry
  • mathematics or statistics

The main generic skills gaps are in:

  •  business skills
  •  management skills
  •  IT skills (general)
  •  project management and team working.

The following trends will affect new and emerging jobs:

  • Science based businesses are competitive and fast moving and there is pressure to protect new ideas and inventions as well as ensuring that products (such as medicines and medical devices) are safely tested and developed before being introduced for public use.
  • The equipment and software that is being developed for the industry and the skills that will be needed to analyse the millions of samples and tests for drug development, will require people with strong mathematical understanding. The area of bioinformatics has already been identified as an area where it is difficult to recruit people with the required experience and skills.
  • Future science professionals will need to have even greater strengths in both IT and mathematical analysis, alongside less mathematical scientific subjects such as biology and chemistry. These are already being identified as areas that some new graduates are lacking.
  • Professional scientists, engineers and those with an understanding of the needs of the medical industry are likely to be needed in future to further improve and develop both the diagnostic and scanning equipment, as well as improve the materials and devices used in other medical applications.

Source - SEMTA AACS LMI report (Jun 2010).