Career Opportunities for Chemistry Graduates


The demand for graduates who have studied the STEM subjects is growing. The Royal Academy of Engineering states that the UK needs a minimum of 100,000 STEM graduates to keep the economy level.  But, only 90,000 graduate each year and at least a quarter of these go into non-scientific careers. Meaning, industries are crying out for science graduates!

So, as a chemistry graduate, what skills do you have to offer? You have an advanced understanding of mathematics, along with IT skills due to processing data. Alongside this, you will have great communication, team work and time management skills – all learnt from carrying out experiments in the lab with others.

Chemistry graduates can follow many different career routes, proving it is not all lab based. For example, Britain’s first woman PM, Margaret Thatcher, graduated with a chemistry degree. Here are some of the most common industries that are open to chemistry graduates:

Careers in Chemical Engineering:
Any company involved in large scale conversion of raw materials into a product requires chemical engineers. This is spread across several sectors, including oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, food and drink and plastics and metals. Although the processes slightly differ for each sector, the role is similar as a chemical engineer is involved in the development and manufacturing process of the chemical products. The daily tasks involve maintaining safety procedures and applying new technologies to better existing methods. 

Careers in Healthcare:
Although some roles will require medical experience, the knowledge of chemists is welcomed in the healthcare industry. They are often needed to work alongside clinicians to support their interpretations of patients test results. Other roles, like clinical biochemists and toxicologists, will have to analyze blood, urine and bodily fluid samples which they then need to investigate in order to aid diagnosis and treatment.  The pharmaceutical industry is closely linked to healthcare and there is a high volume of new drugs being tested and developed each year. A chemistry graduate can apply their skills to help design, analyze and evaluate existing and new pharmaceuticals.

Careers in Public Sector:
Chemistry graduates can work in government funded areas such as law, public health and the environment. Within the law sector, graduates can work in forensics to study and present findings in court. Environmental consultancy is another popular route to go down for chemistry graduates, as it involves investigating the chemical state of the environment and analyzing data, such as chemical analysis of soil, which could potentially help increase crop yield or decrease use of harmful chemicals used on the land.

The Guardian found that chemistry graduates also find work in business and finance (8.5%), management (7.4%) and marketing, sales and advertising (3.2%), where they can apply mathematical skills, showing that studying a science degree does not confine you to a lab based environment. Chemistry is evidently a very open degree that’s rich in different job opportunities

You can view all of our live science jobs here

Written by Cassie Walker