The nature of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the scientific sector to the forefront, with scientists and scientific companies playing a critical part in the response to the virus.
COVID creates demand
Roles relating to testing, and research around the virus, have exploded. There is a huge need for biomedical scientists who are HCPC registered to sign off tests, and anyone with experience of PCR testing is highly valued.
One thing is for sure, vaccine development promises to keep the focus on the sector this year, and demand for those with expertise in testing will continue to be high throughout 2021.
Other sector trends
While COVID-19 continues to dominate the sector, other trends also emerged over the last 12 months. The government’s announcement of a ‘green agenda’ has seen an increase in need for candidates with green chemistry credentials and those who have experience in making eco-friendly products.
The sector is also seeing giant leaps forward in biotech and DNA sequencing, while the continuing innovation of medical devices will always require skilled professionals.
Last year, the uncertainty over Brexit led to an increased number of organisations offering fixed-term and contract positions, rather than committing to permanent roles. While we have now some clarity following our EU exit, the ongoing challenges presented by the pandemic will mean scientific companies may stick to these types of contracts until the economy stabilises.
Salaries and benefits
Candidates with skills specific to the fight against COVID-19 are highly sought after; in other areas the candidate market is saturated. While there are plenty of roles on offer for this range of available candidates, employers will be seeking those professionals with niche and high-value skills in the first instance.
That’s why employers should ensure they are paying the best rates possible, and offering additional benefits that will attract and retain the most talented professionals in the field.
Because much scientific work is lab based, the sector hasn’t been gripped by the remote working revolution which we have seen in other sectors. That being said, increased flexibility is a key area employees now expect their employers to honour. In many cases, this comes in the form of a ‘core hours’ model.
As a recruiter in the industry, I know the recurring benefits which attract professionals to a position include healthcare, performance bonuses, a generous pension scheme and above-average holiday allowances. And, where businesses do not have the capacity to offer these, other simple offerings such as free car parking, or help with travel expenses, can make a big difference.
Offering training and routes to development will play a big part in talent attraction and retention. In a field where professionals are continuously looking to improve their skill sets, failure to offer this will lead to them to your competitors.
What salaries can you expect?
Reed’s 2021 Scientific Salary Guide enables you to benchmark salaries for some of the most popular roles in the science industry.
The region has a strong candidate pool - Cambridge lures people in as a national hub for innovation and research and development. The cost of living is high, but without the London weighting. It’s important companies in the region consider providing relocation assistance to attract the best professionals.
Just to give you an idea, a senior scientist within the region would receive a salary of between £40,100 and £44,300.
QPs in the region can expect a salary of between £83,500 and £97,300.
London & the South East
As with all regions, as a result of the pandemic, there has been an increase in laboratory-based roles, giving many professionals vital lab experience. Businesses looking to recruit will have to be quick off the mark, as the top talent does not stay on the market for long.
In the region, clinical scientists can receive a salary of £42,100 to £46,600.
And QA Managers should be earning between £47,900 and £53,500.
For more information on what you could be earning, or the salaries you should be paying, download your free Reed Scientific 2021 Salary Guide now. The guide contains insight and salary data for the industry across the UK, and will help you make informed decisions in the year ahead.