In the biosciences, a professional placement experience in academia or industry is intended to contribute to a student's personal and professional training. While there is a general acknowledgement that a placement experience is beneficial for students, recent years have seen a decline in the number of students choosing to go on placements. Using a mixed-method research design, this paper explores the attitudes that influence the bioscience students' decisions on whether or not to undertake a year in a professional placement. Other questions considered in this study were whether placements influence student attitudes towards learning and if students achieve a better degree classification and better employment because of placement. Perspectives from academic staff and employers were compared with student perspectives on the added value of undertaking an extended placement during a period of study at university. While our findings reaffirm some of the perceived advantages of a professional placement in terms of learning and employability, it identifies important factors that influence student decisions not to undertake placements, revealing interesting questions on the placement perspectives between the student, academic tutor and employer.