Life sciences

Industry Sector


The Scottish life sciences industry thrives on its workforce. It owes its global reputation to this community of exceptionally talented people – and joining that community is easier now than ever before. 

These days, there are multiple routes into this industry, even without a PhD. If a traditional academic path is not for you, an apprenticeship or internship could be your entry point. From research assistants to marketing managers to biologists, there’s demand at every level for staff with a wide range of skills. 

Whatever way you decide to go, cultivating a strong work ethic and getting some laboratory experience under your belt will help you prepare for your life sciences career. 

The industry now

  • There are 18,400 people working in the life sciences industry 
  • For the year 2020, the median advertised salary for job postings in this sector was £30,000 
  • The life sciences sector adds an estimated £4,798m to the Scottish economy– this figure also includes the added value from the chemical sciences industry 


*Information provided by Oxford Economics and Burning Glass Technologies

The future

Due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, the jobs market is constantly changing. All future figures are estimated:

  • It’s estimated that the value added to the Scottish economy by the life sciences industry, as well as the chemical sciences industry, will grow by 11% to £5,345m in 2030 
  • The life sciences sector has seen growth and an increase in job openings in 2020, it’s anticipated that this will continue in 2021