SEEK says science workers are in demand

Science and technology workers are very much in demand and the work is well paid and interesting, Elyssia Clark, Head of Customer Insights and Strategy at SEEK talks about pathways and job types.
Aug 14, 2020
In demand
Fulfilling work, and the money isn't bad

What are the most in demand jobs in science and technology?
The top areas in the Science & Technology sector on SEEK (as of 6 August) are:

  • Laboratory & Technical Services
  • Environmental, Earth & Geosciences
  • Quality Assurance & Control
  • Biological & Biomedical Sciences
  • Food Technology & Safety
  • Mathematics, Statistics & Information Sciences

Where are they based mostly?
These roles are based mainly in New South Wales (30.0%), Victoria (26.0%) and Queensland (21.4%).

How do people get involved with them training wise?
There are many diverse careers within the Science & Technology sector, such as archaeology, data science and game design, with many roles requiring an undergraduate science degree at a minimum. For example, to become a microbiologist in Australia, you must complete a bachelor degree in medical science majoring in Biology:

  • This is typically a three-year course of full-time study, with prerequisite subjects including science, English and maths.
  • You can then complete postgraduate study, such as the Master of Science or Master of Applied Science (Microbiology), which typically take two years of full-time study to complete.
  • A Ph.D can also be considered, for example the Microbiology and Immunology Ph.D.
  • It is also recommended to join the Australian Society of Microbiologists.

This being said, there are positions within the industry that don’t require an undergraduate degree - like a laboratory assistant - however, a degree can be a huge advantage when seeking employment. There are also courses that can be undertaken to develop practical skills and build foundational knowledge in this role, including the Certificate III in Laboratory Skills (MSL30118), and the Certificate IV in Laboratory Techniques (MSL40118).

What would be the pathway for a student looking into getting involved?
There are many ways that students can start to get involved with the Science & Technology industry, whilst still in school. For example, universities all around Australia offer a number of STEM-based learning opportunities for high school students, including internships, work experience and short courses / summer school.

In addition, SEEK has their own education initiative, Camp SEEK, which aims to introduce year 9 and 10 girls and non-binary young people to the varied and creative career opportunities in the tech industry. We believe that a diverse workforce brings innovation, through differing perspectives, ideas and approaches, which is why we’re passionate about supporting diversity within the tech industry.

The program gives students the opportunity to develop their coding, design and product practical skills, as well as hearing from inspirational women about their career journeys in tech. Camp SEEKers also get the chance to learn about real-world problem solving, putting what they’ve learnt to the test with a Create-a-Thon project to cap off the week.

What about career changers, how do they get involved?
For those looking to change careers, here’s what they can do to ensure a successful transition:

  • Use your network - who do you know in the field you’d like to switch to? Before making any decision, it’s worth having a series of honest conversations with people already working in this area. If you still want to go for it, perhaps see if you can arrange a few days work experience to check that it’s what you really want to do.
  • Utilise your soft skills - while your current focus may be on your lack of industry experience, we should reframe our thinking to explore the skills and experience we already have. Soft skills, or ‘transferable’ skills are the skills we all acquire along the journey of life that are non-specific to a particular job or industry. You may be surprised to learn about the variety of skills you already have that can transfer to a new industry, whether these were acquired at your previous role, or through activities like studying, volunteering, sporting pursuits, and parenting. To help identify the skills you may already have, check out SEEK’s Transferable Skills Checklist.
  • Do your research - by keeping an eye on job ads, you’ll be able to get a sense of the positions that could suit your skill level, as well as additional training that would help fill any gaps and give you a foot in the door. Make sure your SEEK profile is also up to date, so you can match the transferable skills you already possess to roles within the Science & Technology industry.

What kind of remuneration are we looking at?
The average salary in the Science & Technology industry rose from $86k in 2018 to $92k in 2019, with the top three salaries, in terms of growth, found in Chemistry & Physics (8.3%), Quality Assurance & Control (7.0%) and Materials Sciences (5.0%).

The highest recorded salaries in 2019 were found in:

  • Mathematics, Statistics & Information Sciences ($118,938)
  • Modelling & Simulation ($109,188)
  • Environmental, Earth & Geosciences ($97,142)

What do people say about the experience of working in these fields?
Those in the Science & Technology industry have made these comments about their work in reviews on the SEEK website.

“Once you enter the work force you learn so much more in depth than what you do at Uni. I am lucky that in my role there are so many different things to learn that I am never bored. Not only performing various analyses but also reviewing them and helping with projects for implementing new instruments. Validation is particularly fun because we can assess test methods using various analytical tests and make recommendations for improved accuracy, efficiency etc. I have a good balance between lab bench work and computer work so I'm never really stuck doing the same thing in a day.” - Chemist, develop and test products, and design and monitor chemical processes in a laboratory setting.

“Get to work on exciting problems ... Likely to be a growth area around the world which is going to mean opportunities but also fierce competition. You'll need to be a lifetime learner and constantly invest in upgrading your own skills.” - Data Scientist, use data to identify trends and provide insights into real-world problems.

“Working hands-on with animals every day is wonderful as it doesn’t feel like “work”, it’s more of a pleasure and I consider myself very lucky to be in this role. It is also rewarding to know that I play a small part in facilitating important medical research and advances in technology that will ultimately increase the quality of life of people who suffer various diseases, accidents and other incidences where medical treatment is necessary. The role can be monotonous at times though this does not bother me. There is a strong need to see the bigger picture of the benefits of animals used for medical research, and without this understanding one may find such a role to be challenging.” - Animal technician, observe and care for animals to support scientists and students with research.

“The role provides me an opportunity to learn and expand my skills everyday. Keep me up to date with new developments and innovations in [the] medical industry.” - Laboratory Assistant, assist laboratory staff with setting up and preparing experiments.