What are the main occupations in this sector?
Physical & Mathematical Sciences is a broad sector, with many potential career paths for those with qualifications and suitable skillsets, including medical work, engineering, teaching, finance and technology.
Sample occupations include,
- Research scientist - in universities or research establishment, working in the many fields of physics and in cross discipline fields such as nanotechnology, biophysics and materials
- Medical physicists - working in medical imaging, radiation treatment, lasers
- Engineer/scientist - telecommunications, photonics, nuclear physicists.
- Space scientist - e.g. working in satellite and telescope design, theoretical modelling within astrophysics and cosmology
- Environmental science - e.g. weather, climate analysis, pollution control, oceanography, geophysics, renewable energy sector
- Software engineering - e.g. computer game development, animation, ballistics, Aeronautics
For more examples click here
What types of employment contracts are there?
Research contracts in universities are typically around 3 years as they depend on individual research grants for specific projects.
Scientists often move between research establishments gaining valuable experience. Permanent positions arise for posts such as lecturers in universities.
In industry, employment tends to be offered on a permanent basis.
What are the typical earnings of these occupations?
Academic salaries are good – higher than in many other parts of the world, with a scale extending from €40,000 to €100,000 and beyond for senior staff.
In industry, salaries are dependent on initial qualification, with starting salaries for graduates at around €22,000. However, this can quickly rise with experience e.g. studies by Forfás show that software engineering salaries can rise by around 40% after 2-4 years employment.