The science skills most in demand

When it comes to the science jobs market, one question haunts recruiters and job hunters alike: what skills are most in demand? The answer affects industry, which must find ways to top up skill levels. It affects universities, which bear the responsibility for training the next generation, and it affects prospective employees who need to understand the call for their skills.
So New Scientist decided to investigate. In the annual New Scientist salary survey, with scientific recruitment specialists SRG, we surveyed 2750 people working in science and engineering in the UK. Of those, 535 were responsible for recruiting and hiring science and technical staff – a group at the coal face who should know where the demand lies.
A full quarter of those recruiters told us that the chemistry skillset was difficult to come by, so chemistry topped the charts for hard-to-get talent in 2018. “This is driven by manufacturing, which hires more chemists and employs more people than R&D in the UK,” says SRG director Kelly Morton.
Then came biological sciences (identified by 19 per cent of recruiters), engineering (16 per cent), data analysis (11 per cent), quality control (10 per cent), bio-informatics (9 per cent) and regulatory roles (8 per cent).
Skill set most difficult to recruit for