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Scientist 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 a Scientist. This page details the following Information:-

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

Finding Suitable Work

This website features a volume of Job vacancies advertised on behalf of a number of different employers and specialist recruiters that post vacancies on a regular basis so you can start your search for work right here:-

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We feature many Scientist Jobs live online at this site and these posts are updated daily. Please book mark this page and return here on a regular basis or register with our site for Jobs by email so that you don't miss out on the latest work opportunities.

Working Duties Expected

Scientists are involved in a number of disciplines and in different kinds of work, for example:

  • Research and development: development scientists are involved in developing new products and industrial processes, improving efficiency, or scaling up a laboratory procedure to full scale manufacture.
  • Scientific analysis and investigation: a few examples of work include: diagnosing, monitoring or treating disease or illness; measuring levels of pollution or environmental damage; looking at ways to increase environmental protection; analysing samples as part of criminal investigations; predicting the weather or environmental disasters; discovering and extracting valuable natural resources such as oil or gas.
  • Education and the media: some scientists teach their subject in school, college or university; others are involved in designing educational materials for use in broadcasting, schools and colleges or museums. Scientific journalists and publishers write in everyday language about complex scientific concepts.
  • Administration: scientists work in government departments and non-governmental agencies, using their scientific understanding to inform and assist in formulating policies.
  • Scientists may also be involved in the biosciences and physical sciences.
  • Scientists might also supervise the work of support staff and technicians, leading a team of scientists and other staff, and there may be administrative tasks to carry out.

Hours and Environment

Scientists usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, although evening and weekend work is often required if involved with ongoing projects. Shifts, nights, or on-call work may be necessary if the job involves providing a round-the-clock service to the public, as in the NHS.

Practical scientists mainly work in laboratories, but many are involved in fieldwork, such as collecting samples, conservation work, monitoring environmental factors, or studying plants and animals in their natural habitat.

Much of the work in laboratories requires sterile conditions, and long periods could be spent sitting or standing at a bench or piece of equipment. Fieldwork may be physically demanding.

Work may involve handling hazardous substances, or micro-organisms which cause infectious diseases. Some of the samples studied may be unpleasant, and the equipment used may be complex and expensive.

Most practical scientists wear some form of protective clothing to protect themselves and prevent contamination of samples or equipment. Suitable clothing would be needed to protect against the elements when carrying out fieldwork.

Skills and Interests

To be a scientist, you should:

  • have an enquiring mind and be able to think clearly and logically
  • be good at problem solving, with a methodical approach to your 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 spoken communication skills to relate to members of your team and professional colleagues, and to present your work
  • have good written communication skills to write reports, scientific papers and grant applications
  • be able to keep up with advances in your field
  • understand statistics and relevant computer packages for some jobs, and be willing to do fieldwork.

Most scientists are graduates. A degree, and sometimes also a postgraduate qualification, in the appropriate subject is often essential. Increasingly, graduates have to gain relevant work experience before applying for their first job. This is especially true in environmental and conservation work, where experience can be gained through voluntary work.

Entry to a degree course requires at least two A levels/three or four H grades, or equivalent. Five GCSEs (A-C)/S grades (1-3) in science subjects, English and maths, are also usually required. The exact requirements will depend on the subject and the institution.

Many institutions offer a one-year foundation or bridging course for students who have not studied the appropriate science subjects.

For details of qualification equivalents see:

Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)
Scottish Qualifications Authority
An Access to Higher Education qualification may also be accepted for entry to certain courses. If experienced in a related field, you may be able to gain recognition of skills through Accredited Prior Learning (APL). Please check with colleges or universities for exact entry requirements.


Scientists are given continuing on-the-job training to learn new experimental techniques and IT developments, to keep up-to-date in their specialist area and to keep abreast of health and safety regulations.

Scientists may be required, or choose, to study for postgraduate qualifications, a higher degree, or take exams for membership or fellowship of a professional body. There is NVQ/SVQ Level 4 in Laboratory and Associated Technical Activities.


There is a large number of scientists working in the UK, although some jobs may be restricted to areas of the country or locations because of the nature of the work, for example environmental or conservation work.

It is useful to research the various scientific career opportunities, as certain areas of work are more difficult to enter than others (such as forensic science, marine biology, geology and ecology). It is relatively easier to obtain a job as a biomedical scientist or as a chemist.

Relocation may be necessary for career progression.

Scientists work for a wide range of employers, and cover a wide range of work. Large companies outsource both specialist and routine scientific work, and there is an increase in the number of spinout companies from universities. These trends have resulted in more scientists working for small or medium-sized companies and more opportunity to become self-employed or to start their own company.

Supervisory and management responsibilities may be available to more experienced scientists, and some scientists may become more involved in the commercial aspects of the work of a company.

Annual Income

Figures are intended as a guideline only.

Generally, pay is higher in the private sector, especially in high-tech areas, and large private companies pay more than smaller companies. Environmental and conservation work tends to be less well paid.

The following figures are for a scientist doing research and teaching in an academic institution:
Someone with a PhD, starting in a research position in university, will receive between £17,451 and £19,681.
A senior university lecturer will earn between £33,820 and £38,603.
The salary of professors is not fixed, but could be up to £60,000.

Further information

SEMTA (Science Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies Alliance) *
14 Upton Road
WD18 0JT
Tel: 0808 100 3682

National Training Organisations (NTOs) ceased to be recognised by the government on 31 March 2002. However, some are continuing to operate in their respective fields. Please contact individual NTOs with queries regarding their current status.

The Secretary of State for Education and Skills is licensing new Sector Skills Councils - charged with boosting skills and productivity in business sectors. For information about Sector Skills Councils, their roles and responsibilities, please visit the Sector Skills Development Agency website:

Other Useful Scientist Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Scientist 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 Scientist 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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