Chemistry’s Contribution: workforce trends and economic impact

Chemistry’s Contribution: workforce trends and economic impact for the Royal Society of Chemistry set out to answer questions about the skills and knowledge that chemistry using professionals apply in the workforce and how they contribute to the UK economy and public purse. It takes into account regional and sector variations and considers how these change over time.

The study uses data from the Labour Force Survey and the O*NET database to define chemistry using professionals and identify the skills and knowledge they apply in the workforce. Chemistry using professionals encompass a wide range of occupations, from academic chemists in universities and professional chemical scientists in industry, through to chemistry teachers in schools and those in sales and marketing roles. The study estimates that there were 275,000 chemistry using jobs in the UK in 2019, spread around the UK but with significant proportions in London, the South East and North West.

Chemistry using professionals make a direct contribution to the economic output in the sectors in which they work, which also generates further rounds of impact throughout the economy. The study finds that chemistry using professionals are estimated to have generated around £87bn in economic output in 2019, alongside an estimated £3.2bn to the Exchequer through tax and National Insurance contributions.

The findings from this study, in combination with the wider evidence base, show that chemistry using professionals make a significant contribution to innovation and economic growth, both through the nature of the occupations they undertake and because they tend to be highly qualified. Furthermore, several common characteristics shared by chemistry using professionals appear to be highly relevant to the ability to innovate. These include complex problem solving, critical thinking, coordination and troubleshooting skills.

Further information: summary report and video on the Royal Society of Chemistry website.

Chris Woolliscroft Project Manager cw@camecon.com