I’m not sure whether you can work in research without the Masters or PhD if I’m being honest. I volunteered as a research assistant during undergrad, but I’m assuming jobs that pay MAY want you to have the research background. It might be different for lab technicians? I’m not sure as I’ve just gone down the research route and everyone I work with in the lab and uni is either doing their phd or has it already.
I think it’s important to point out that I had no real idea about a narrow research interest before I started my phd, it was 3 months in that I narrowed it slightly. And I didn’t do a Masters either is it’s not like I specialised before. In my experience (and I must stress, it’s only mine I can comment on) it’s ok to have a general idea and discussions with supervisors can narrow it. I also wasn’t sure I was cut out for a PhD but I love it, and I’m just learning as I go. I felt that the only requirement was that I was passionate about research and willing to learn and work hard, and the rest just fell into place. So If you’re just worried about being good enough for a phd on some level, don’t be, because everyone feels the same and it all usually works out. And I guess in the UK our PhDs are shorter (~3 years max) so it’s less of a time consideration, so I can see why 5+ years seems daunting. I would say try and volunteer or get a job in a lab and see if you like it and see what happens.
I’m sorry I can’t be more help, feel free to message me if you have any further questions!
Or maybe someone else can offer some advice?