The full picture for chemistry graduates

25 April 2008

The Independent  yesterday referred to the employment prospects and earnings for graduates of selected subjects. The RSC has replied with a letter pointing out the misleading use of some of the statistics.  


We must take issue with the table headed 'employment prospects' that you feature today in the story about degrees and jobs prospects.

The table focuses on one just statistic, namely that 34% of chemistry graduates are employed in a graduate job six months after graduating. 

What has been omitted, misleadingly, is the key fact that only 7% of chemistry graduates are unemployed.

A glance at the full Good University Guide table reveals that just 14% of chemistry graduates are in non-graduate jobs - 79% are in fully-fledged graduate roles or are studying.

The Royal Society of Chemistry can assure readers that chemistry graduates are, in reality, subject to high demand, not only within fields directly related to chemistry but in professions such as financial services, where their proven skills - not only data analysis and numeracy, but an understanding of the physical world, and providing robust intellectual challenge - are very highly valued and well-rewarded.

Chemistry graduates, over the course of their careers, earn significantly more than those from most other disciplines in the arts, humanities or even biology. This is not consistent with the low starting salary you quote in your table, and we therefore query the sourcing of your information and the basis on which it has been compiled. 

We would also add that graduating chemical scientists can now work in fields vital to the future for all of us, addressing climate change, providing energy, securing food and water and developing new technologies in healthcare, communication and security. 

Dr Richard Pike
Chief Executive, Royal Society of Chemistry 

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