Science and medicine-related professions top UK students’ career goals

Medical Devices

Project GenerationeXt was established by Roche to encourage the next generation to enter a career in life sciences. It provides resources for students, teachers and parents on the online GenerationeXt hub. GenerationeXt surveyed 2,500 16-24 year-olds and found that science and medicine-related professions were the most popular career goals for UK students, and science was the most popular subject in school.

However, 60% of students feel there is not enough encouragement to embark upon a career in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) industries and 80% of 17 year-olds are concerned they will not secure a job despite the 40,000 STEM-related vacancies each year. There is a lack of confidence in their abilities, not helped by 25% being told at some point in their educational lives that they would not be successful in the life sciences industry. This lack of support led around 33% of students to abandon a STEM career either because it sounded too complicated or because they felt they were not clever enough.

“60% of students feel there is not enough encouragement to embark upon a career in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) industries “

Prof Alice Roberts, professor of public engagement in science at the University of Birmingham, said: “Careers in science and technology are so varied, so creative and offer so much potential to really make a difference to peoples’ lives. It’s a great shame if young people are turned off by misconceptions about what is really a gloriously diverse range of different subjects and disciplines, by negative stereotypes, and by ideas that science “isn’t for them. That’s why initiatives like GenerationeXt are so important - we need to blow some myths out of the water!”

75% of the students surveyed were concerned about post-Brexit uncertainty for the UK life sciences sector and the impact of the current political and economic climate on their future careers.

Richard Erwin, general manager of Roche UK, said: “With heightened post-Brexit anxieties and the shortage of skills in the life sciences sector, it is even more critical that we support the next generation of home-grown talent to ensure that British science remains world class - the future of UK healthcare innovation depends on it. The industry has a duty to address the gap in STEM uptake, including the misconception that you need to have a particular set of skills to pursue a career in this industry.”

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