Careers advisor from the RSC answers your questions

As part of our “How to build a career in the chemical industry” webinar we have had some follow up questions from the audience and also pre submitted questions that we did not have enough time to answer on the day. In order to answer these questions, we will publish written answers to these questions from the different panel members over the next couple of weeks.

Charlotte Ashley-Roberts a Careers Consultant at the Royal Society of Chemistry has provided us with very informative answers to your questions:

I‘m a graduate of Industrial Chemistry. I started my career in the lubricant industry and I have over 4 years experience in this field. I need to further my education to boost my career and I can’t seem to find any post graduate course in my field. What advice do you have for me?

I would say that further education is unlikely to help in most cases. If the roles you are applying for specifically ask for a qualification you don’t have then it might be worth pursuing but this isn’t normally the case. I would advise that you have your application checked by an experienced professional as it is more likely you aren’t selling your skills well enough. If you do decide to go for a postgraduate course then it doesn’t always matter if it’s not in the ‘right’ field – choose one which interests you.

I work in Nigeria and my family is in UK. I had my PhD in the UK. I have been looking for job in the UK both as a lecturer/research assistant or postdoc and in the industry as an Analytical/Environmental chemist but have not been able to get one mainly because I don’t have UK working experience. Please what can I do to be considered for a job in the UK. I do not have visa problem and I will be grateful for any advise.

I would speak to your network already based in the UK in academia as they will be best placed to answer your question. I would also look at www.vitae.ac.uk which gives information on how to apply (and what to include) for academic applications. There are 4 main things they will look for: teaching experience, independent research, publications and revenue generation. It may be that interviewing you when you are abroad is tricky? Finally, I would say that it is an extremely competitive environment so it may just be a matter of time.

How can we ensure that employers are not losing valuable skilled potential employees trying to return to a more-flexible employment situation after extended parental leave?

Wow, that’s a big question, one I don’t have a solution for I am afraid. I am not sure we can, it will come down to the employer and their strategy, flexibility and willingness to employ parents. Many employers allow flexible working and there are laws in place to support parents at work. I think we need to ensure they see that parents bring value to the workplace and we (as parents) have some responsibility to demonstrate our skills to the employer too.

What maximum age is considered for a job in a chemical industry?

There is no maximum age, age discrimination is illegal in the UK and you are allowed to work until you don’t want to. We don’t see any problems at any age (in my experience).

If you would like to watch the webinar click here

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