UK food sector ripe for science jobs, survey

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags science Scientific method

New opportunities for food scientists are expected to open up in 2010, according to a recruitment specialist, as the sector has weathered the recession relatively well and is taken advantage of the pool of job-seeking talent.

Science recruitment specialist SRG UK conducts an annual survey of recruitment and job openings for scientists across human resources specialists or senior technical/scientific staff at more than 550 organisations in the UK, covering the biotech, forensic, pharmaceuticals, oil gas and petrochemicals, environmental, academia and healthcare.

The latest survey, conducted last month, indicated that organisations found it no harder to hire scientists in 2009 than in 2008. Compared to the scientific sector as a whole, food companies reported finding it much easier to recruit.

What is more, in 2008 the food sector was using the smallest number of scientific staff compared to other sectors. At the end of 2009, it was close to the top in hiring permanent members of staff. Conversely, the number of contract scientific staff in food has declined – a trend that is in line with that observed across all sectors.


In the last year, food and beverage companies said they found it2 per cent easier to hire scientific staff last year than previously.

They also reported using 4 per cent more permanent scientific staff compared to a year ago, and they plan to increase levels of permanent staff by 16 per cent in the coming year.

They plan to reduce levels of contract staff by 18 per cent in the coming 12 months.

Bruce Swan, food industry specialist for SRG, said: "The outlook for 2010 is looking positive with the food sector predicting growth in permanent staff hire during 2010, which follows the general trend throughout the science community."

Amongst the main conclusions this year, SRG says the food sector – along with gas/oil/petrochemicals – looks to have been resilient to the downturn, and has continued to take the opportunity to hire staff.

The survey is available at this link

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