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Biotechnologist Profile


This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as an Biotechnologist. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as an Biotechnologist
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Biotechnologist Work Information

Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

Biotechnologists use their scientific knowledge to understand basic biological processes in animals, plants and microbes. Some areas of investigation include:

• using micro-organisms in the production of alcoholic drinks and foods
• developing new medicines
• drug discovery or gene therapy
• designing and using antibiotics and pesticides
• identifying, deciphering and manipulating the genetic code
• investigating biological systems
• combating environmental pollution.

The work may involve:

• designing and conducting experiments
• making observations and analysing data
• supervising support staff
• writing reports and scientific papers and presenting work at meetings or conferences
• administrative work.

Biotechnologists work in team of scientists and technicians. They normally work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Some jobs include shift work, evenings, weekends and on-call work. They work in laboratories, industrial manufacturing or field settings. Some work requires sterile conditions.

A biotechnologist needs to be:

• enquiring, with the ability to think clearly
• a good problem solver
• accurate, with a methodical approach
• interested in, and good at, science.

Areas of employment include chemicals, pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, food and drink, government establishments and agencies, biotechnology firms and charity research institutes. Most biotechnologists are graduates, and a postgraduate qualification is essential for some positions. There are no age limits for entry as a biotechnologist, and entry requirements are the same as for younger applicants.

All biotechnologists get continuing on-the-job training to learn new laboratory techniques and IT developments.

Promotion is to supervisory and management posts, but career advancement may require relocation.

What does the role encounter?

Biotechnologists exploit and harness the potential of micro-organisms and living systems for the benefit of mankind. This can include:

• using micro-organisms in the production of alcoholic drinks, bread, cheese and yoghurt
• developing new medicines and treatment for illness and disease
• drug discovery or gene therapy
• finding new ways to design and use antibiotics and pesticides
• identifying, deciphering and manipulating the genetic code
• working out how various biological systems work
• using genetic modification and genome mapping to improve crop production or crop resistance to pests and diseases
• combating environmental pollution by developing the use of biosensors for early detection of pollutants
• working in numerous other areas - from quality control to pharmacokinetics, environmental clean-up, seed production and food storage and treatment.

Biotechnology is used across a broad range of industries including:

• healthcare
• traditional pharmaceutical and chemical companies
• new, smaller, niche biotechnology companies.

Recent developments have revolutionised the potential of biotechnology.

Biotechnologists' work involves designing and conducting experiments or making observations and analysing data, supervising the work of support staff, writing up work in reports and scientific papers and presenting work at scientific meetings or conferences. They work in teams with other scientists and technicians.

Much of the equipment used and analysis of data is dependent on computer technology, so it is important to understand computers, statistics and mathematical modelling. It is important to keep abreast of current research in this rapidly-changing area of work.

What type of hours will I have to work?

Biotechnologists usually work 37 hours a week, 9am to 5pm from Monday to Friday. Evening and weekend work may be required, and on-call work for those working in industry.

They work in laboratories, industrial manufacturing or field settings. Some work requires sterile conditions. They may work with hazardous chemicals or micro-organisms, and some samples may be unpleasant. Equipment may be complex, sophisticated, expensive and computer-controlled.

What level of salary and benefits are there?

These figures are purely for guidance only. Salaries may vary for the area the job is situated in, age, experience along with a host of other factors:

• Graduate biotechnologists starting their first jobs are likely to be paid between £18,000 and £22,000 a year.
• Established biotechnologists are likely to receive between £30,000 and £40,000 a year.
• Established biotechnologists with postgraduate qualifications could earn over £45,000 a year

What type of skills will I need?

You will need to have some or all of the following type of skills to carry out this job:

• be very good at science
• have enquiring minds and be able to think clearly and logically
• be good at problem solving, with a methodical approach to their work
• be able to work accurately and pay great attention to detail
• be able to work in, and lead, a team of professionals
• have excellent communication skills
• be able to keep up with advances in their field
• understand statistics, modelling, complex data analysis and computer packages.

What type of training will I receive?

All biotechnologists get continuing on-the-job training to learn new laboratory techniques and IT developments, to keep up to date in their specialist area and to keep abreast of health and safety regulations. They also receive training for personal development, management or supervisory responsibilities.

Many biotechnologists study for postgraduate qualifications, higher degrees, or for examinations for membership or fellowship of a professional body.

Technicians may study for appropriate NVQ/SVQs Levels 2, 3 or 4 in Laboratory Operations, national or higher national diplomas or certificates, or degrees in their subject.

Career Progression:

Biotechnologists may need to relocate to progress in their careers.

Many scientists take on supervisory and management responsibilities as their careers progress, with some moving away from practical science altogether. In industry, scientists may become involved in the more commercial aspects of company work.

Are there similar types of job or related industries?

Yes, this list is not exhaustive but see the following categories:

Clinical Scientist

Where can I find further information?

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, 12 Whitehall, London SW1A 2DY. 020 7930 3477. Website:

Bioindustry Association, 14/15 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8PS. 020 7565 7190. Website:

Biosciences Federation, 76 Portland Place, London W1B 1NT. 020 7580 5530. Website:

BIO-WISE (a DTI initiative), PO Box 83, Didcot, Oxfordshire OX11 0BR. 0800 432100. Website:

The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM), 15 John Street, London WC1N 2EB. 020 7831 3110. Website:

Genetics Society, Roslin Institute, Roslin, Midlothian EH25 9PS. 0131 527 4472. Website:

Institute of Biology, 20 Queensberry Place, London SW7 2DZ. 0207 581 8333. Website:

Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, 45 Southgate Street, Winchester, Hampshire SO23 9EH. 01962 868 626. Website:

Institute of Food Science and Technology, 5 Cambridge Court, 210 Shepherd's Bush Road, London W6 7NJ. 020 7603 6316. Website:

Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, 1 Lambeth High Street, London SE1 7JN. 020 7735 9141. Website:

Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies Alliance (SEMTA), 14 Upton Road, Watford WD18 0JT. 01923 238441. Website:

Society for Applied Microbiology, The Blore Tower, Harpur Centre, Bedford MK40 1TQ. 01234 326661. Website:

Society for General Microbiology, Marlborough House, Basingstoke Road, Spencers Wood, Reading RG7 1AG. 0118 988 1800. Website:

The Wellcome Trust, 215 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE. 020 7611 8888. Website:

What trade magazines are available for this industry?

All of the following magazines and journals can be purchased from any good bookstore:

New Scientist

Other Useful Biotechnologist Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Biotechnologist job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Biotechnologist Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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