If you are going to work in this career area you must have a strong interest in people - in caring for them and keeping them healthy. This area includes a wide range of jobs, with around 350 roles.
There are around 2.5 million people working in the UK healthcare sector. The largest UK employer is the NHS with more than 1.5 million employees, making it one of the top 5 largest workforces in the world.
Health and medicine covers a huge range of occupations: alternative medicine, ambulance services, dentistry, dietetics, medical technology, medicine and surgery, nursing and auxiliary work, occupational therapy, ophthalmics and orthoptics, pharmacy, physiotherapy, podiatry, radiography and speech and arts therapy.
To see the routes to getting into each of these sectors, take a look at our Career Pathway.
Most jobs in this sector are with either the public sector, mainly the National Health Service (NHS) or private healthcare companies and clinics. You can work within:
You can also work for voluntary or not-for-profit organisations, such as the British Red Cross or Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) UK.
There are currently 297,000 people working in healthcare in Scotland - of those, NHS Scotland employs 156,178 people.
Although there was a rise in job vacancies during the pandemic in job families such as Ambulance Support Services, vacancies for Support Services, Administrative Services and Nursing and Midwifery have decreased, probably due to the demand at the time for COVID-related services such as testing, tracing and vaccination programmes. Employment in other job families, such as Medical and Dental staff, increased by 4.2% to 15,462. The number of Allied Health Professionals employed in NHS Scotland also increased by 4.5% to 13,462. Employment numbers in these two groups continue to increase.
In the mid-term (2022-2025) the healthcare workforce is expected to grow in Scotland by 1.9% (or by 5,300 people), and is forecast to account for 8.5% of total jobs in Scotland. (This is a larger percentage of growth than is forecast overall across Scotland where employment is predicted to rise by 1.2%). It is predicted that a further 28,100 people will be needed to fill job openings by 2025, mainly due to the continuing challenge of its ageing workforce and people leaving because of retirement. As at 31 March 2023, in Allied Health Profession roles in the NHS, the top advertised posts were in: Occupational Health; Physiotherapy; Radiography - diagnostic; Dietetics; and Paramedics.
NHS expenditure on medical agency staff increased by 17% over the past year to £120 million.
There are many NHS Modern Apprenticeships across the healthcare sector, therefore a good entry route to working in this area.
Skills for Health is the Sector Skills Council for the health sector, their website provides lots of careers information for entry level careers.
DYW Skills Academy