Date of Publication: 08 February 2021
Around the world, from primary to higher education, mathematics remains one of the most constant subjects. Studying maths is far more than just an essential part of school, it helps you develop skills in logical thinking, problem-solving and decision making, which, if you’re expert in, are highly valued by employers across all job sectors.
Thanks to the growing reliability businesses and organisations place on technology, data, and economic efficiency, those with a skill in dealing with numbers and applying logic to situations are highly in-demand. In fact, by the year 2028, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the job market for aspiring mathematicians will grow by a staggering 33 percent – much faster than for all other occupations.
With this in mind, careers in mathematics are not only highly respected and in-demand, but potentially highly lucrative too. If you’re considering studying Maths at university, discover where a passion for mathematics could lead you with our list of 12 of the most-demand math careers.
What Careers Use Mathematics?
Mathematics is a subject that we use in our daily lives, no matter what career path we choose. From calculating budgets for department costs, to working out how much spare change we have to pick-up lunch from our favourite coffee shop – we unknowingly use maths throughout our adulthood.
With that being said, there are lots of math careers that rely on the subject’s logic and expertise every single day, and will require a higher level of knowledge. A mathematics degree can lead you in two separate directions: for some, they may choose to stick with academia and pursue careers in Mathematics as researchers or tutors, while others may work in a diverse range of math related jobs, using the skills and knowledge they have learnt in their education to apply to daily operations in a business or organisation.
Professionals who have these skills are highly desirable, particularly with their ability to apply their technical mathematical skills to a range of problems and scenarios. This can be across any sector, as long as the career demands your expertise and interests. For example, those with an interest in technology may pursue careers as data scientists, software developers, or even programmers. While those with an interest in the healthcare industry may find themselves working as auditors or medical scientists. There are so many Math careers to choose from!
Unsurprisingly, these impeccable skills that Mathematicians yield are highly desirable and in-demand across all industries, which has led to an influx of in-demand job roles for graduate students who have studied mathematics.
Let’s take a look at 12 of the most in-demand careers in Mathematics.
Recently, demand for auditors, or those with a skill to inspect and understand financial accounts have soared. New changes in financial declarations mean many companies no longer required to have a statutory audit. As such, over the years those pursuing degrees in Mathematics have moved away from training for such roles and math careers.
However, in the past couple of years it has come to light that for those that still require auditing services, there is now a shortage of those who are able to provide an auditing service. This means a huge gap between the number of auditors available and the companies that require their expertise, meaning those with the skills are highly in-demand.
Being an auditor is a specialist role, one which requires you to review the accounts of companies to ensure their financial statements are legal and valid. You will be required to inspect yearly or quarterly accounts, to ensure all the money going in and out of the firm is being recorded and processed correctly.
The role of an auditor can also be an advisory one, where you could work with companies to recommend risk aversion measures and suggest some cost saving measures. This can be carried out as an in-house role, working in the finance department of a company, or as a self-employed auditor, which advises several clients throughout the year. The options are there to choose from.
2. Software Developer
Did you know that approximately 21% of all jobs in the Technology sector are for developers? With the world becoming increasingly reliant on digital technologies, the demand for software developers has soared in recent years, with the industry predicted to grow by around 10% in the next year in the UK.
The role of a software developer is best suited to those with a passion for problem solving and applying logic to scenarios. Much of the work you’ll carry out will be finding solutions to a specific question or brief, and turning it into a fully-fledged product which operates without error.
This can be carried out almost in any industry; from internet technologies, to healthcare software and even gaming – you can apply your technical skills and expertise to a Math career in conjunction with something you’re interested in and most importantly, passionate about!
With the influx of new data being generated day-by-day, mainly down to an increasingly hyper-digitised world, it’s no surprise that the demand for those with the skills needed to analyse and make sense of it has grown. In fact, the role of a statistician has been named as one of the fastest growing and top-paying for math related jobs, with demand for statisticians expected to grow by a striking 33% over the next five years.
The role of a statistician provides a whole range of benefits to almost every industry, helping them to improve their daily operations and processes, to make business decisions and predictions based on reliable inferences. Your day-to-day tasks could include designing surveys, experiments, and other tests to collect data, interpret it, and report conclusions.
Often these career opportunities are flexible, with lots of companies bringing in freelancers to help with short-term projects or quarterly/yearly projections. However, for larger corporate companies, you could find yourself working in-house, running large-scale projects to ensure smooth processes across the whole organisation.
How long might someone need to be off work for their mental health? What is the chance of a property by the coastline being flooded each year? When companies need to determine the risk of certain events such as sickness, accidents, natural disasters or even death, they turn to an actuary.
The role of an actuary is to analyse the financial costs of risk and uncertainty, using statistics and mathematical theory to make accurate predictions. These predictions are then used to help businesses and clients develop different policies or terms and conditions to help minimise the cost of any of those risks. In this sense, actuaries are essential to the insurance industry and experts.
In terms of careers in Mathematics, being an actuary relies on you to have advanced knowledge of statistics and modelling, particularly by applying your skill to business software. When it comes to predicting long-term eventualities, you don’t want to be leaving much room for error.
5. Financial Analyst
Working as a financial analyst is one of the most popular math careers, mainly due to the high-paying nature of the role. But one which comes with a lot of responsibility. Pursue a career as a financial analyst and you will be responsible for evaluating investment opportunities in banks, funds, insurance firms and other types of business.
Main duties include: evaluating current and historical financial data, examining economic and business trends, as well as meeting with company officials to advise and gain better insights into their future prospects. Financial analyst roles can take many forms, including: risk analysts, fund managers, and portfolio managers.
With careers for financial analysts being highly popular amongst mathematicians, it can be a hugely competitive industry, and one which can be tough to break into. When you can, spend your free time gaining work experience, learning about the industry, and even attending a Mathematics summer school to better improve your CV for the future.
6. Mathematics teacher or lecturer
Being a maths teacher in schools or as a lecturer at university can be highly rewarding. As a teacher, you have the ability to inspire students and open their eyes to the world of opportunities they can gain from a career in Mathematics.
Aside from inciting inspiration and teaching material to students, you’ll also be responsible for some of the other roles which come with being a teacher, including: creating a curriculum, setting assignments and tasks, review work, and provide helpful feedback – doing everything you can to educate students and challenge them to make the most out of their course.
Alternatively, if you choose to pursue a career in higher education as a lecturer in Mathematics, you may also spend a portion of your time conducting research and publishing your findings in industry journals. This can be a great career path for graduates looking for careers in Mathematics which allow them to continue with their academia as they pursue a career.
For those looking for math related jobs whilst pursuing a wider interest in the world around you, a career as an Economist may be of interest to you. An economist is a mathematical expert who studies the relationship between a society’s resources and its production or output. From small local communities to whole nations or even the global economy, your opinions and research in these fields can help shape a variety of policies, including tax laws, interest rates, trade agreements, and more.
The daily responsibilities of an economist are incredibly varied, and can include anything from research and data collection to presenting findings to businesses and governments to recommend solutions to economic problems.
Being an economist remains an in-demand role, with job opportunities expected to grow around roughly 6% over the next five years. As the global economy continues to grow, so too does its complexities, meaning demand for economic services and financial regulations will continue to increase.
8. Chartered Accountant
Being a chartered accountant offers a lot of opportunity for progression as well as high-earning potential, making it an incredibly in-demand career for aspiring mathematicians and graduates alike.
As a chartered accountant, you’ll have many responsibilities, including providing financial advice, auditing accounts, and providing trustworthy insights about financial records. Working strategically, the ultimate goal of your job role is to maximise profitability for your client. This could involve everything from business auditing to taxation, and even insolvency, and could be carried out in a whole range of organisations.
Accountancy is a highly-skilled and highly-disciplined profession, which typically involves postgraduate training. As such, it continues to remain a highly in-demand career across the UK. In fact, research shows that by 2050, the country will need around 80,000 additional accountants to keep up with business growth.
9. Data Scientist
For students looking to apply their skills to an industry they’re passionate about, then working towards a position as a data scientist can be one of the best Math related jobs to satisfy your interests.
As organisations continue to collect larger amounts of data in the running of their everyday lives, they are constantly seeking ways to improve their practices. From predicting what their customers may want to purchase to making more eco-friendly decisions, the role of a data scientist is to identify patterns in test results and suggest new and innovative ways to improve their processes.
The role of a data scientist isn’t too dissimilar from the work of a statistician. However, while statisticians work to improve a single model revolving around data they have secured, data scientists will focus on comparing many different methods to develop the best outcome for a business.
As you can imagine, your central role will be to extract, analyse, and interpret data from a range of sources, drawing on the machine learning and data mining skills you have developed at university. You will then usually present this data more clearly, in a way that is accessible to businesses. As such, this makes data scientists highly lucrative to businesses, as they use their technical ability to analyse the current climate of a business, and make clear and concise suggestions based on what they’ve found.
A Cryptographer is a technical expert who is responsible for developing security systems, created by complex algorithms, to encrypt sensitive data. This role is vitally important, ensuring that some of the most highly sensitive data in the modern world, including personal, business, and military data is stored away securely away from prying eyes.
With the increasing concern of cyber crimes being reported around the world, a math career as a Cryptographer is fast becoming an ever-more important role. You will need to have a thorough understanding of statistical models and theoretical algorithms, as well as up-to-date knowledge of IT security hardware and software.
Typical duties can vary between design and analysis. For example, you may be responsible for designing robust systems that are secure from hacking. Or, you could find yourself moving into the field as a Cryptanalyst, where you will work to decrypt information contained with cipher texts.
11. Mathematical Research Scientist
For those looking for math careers which will allow you to continue researching and engaging with your academia, then the role of a Research Scientist could be the perfect fit.
Although the work of a research mathematician is varied, the main premise involves producing original and abstract research which can be used to develop our understanding of complex numbers, and then apply them to businesses or the economy in general to solve problems. Applied research can contribute to the development of many businesses and financial pathways, making the role of a researcher highly in-demand and respectable.
Depending on what your interests are, you’ll be able to undertake research into a diverse range of mathematical theories, including: algebra, differential equations, geometry, and numerical analysis.
12. Quantity Surveyor
With a growing economy comes a growing demand on the construction industry, which continues to boom in the 21st Century. Quantity surveyors play an essential role in construction development, and, with an expected 60% shortage of them around the world, they are currently a highly in-demand career opportunity.
A quantity surveyor is one of those math careers which requires accuracy, logic, and technical skill, but which is heavily grounded in the building industry. From initial calculations to the final figures, quantity surveys are responsible for managing all costs relating to building and civil engineering projects.
Your primary aim would be to minimise the costs on construction projects, while still being able to achieve the required legal standards, quality, and safety of a building project. Daily responsibilities could include preparing estimates and costs of the work, tracking any variations, and keeping track of deadlines and quality checks. With expert knowledge of the entire funding process, you’ll be involved in every step of the project, seeing things from start to finish.
How Can I Prepare for These Math Careers?
As we’ve seen from some of the examples above, math related jobs can be highly competitive, especially for graduates looking to secure high-earning positions. Therefore, it’s imperative that you undertake career planning and research from an early stage.
This could include:
- Research the job roles that interest you the most
- Build your networks, speaking with students and graduates wherever possible
- Attend school or university career fairs and events
- Get involved with relevant clubs and societies
- Continue to pursue your interests outside of the classroom, with relevant entertainment
- Attend a mathematics summer school
Joining a Mathematics Summer Course
The formula for success with a career in mathematics starts with an enriching summer school experience. Learning from world-class tutors in small groups in an inspiring university setting, there’s never been a better opportunity to explore your future career opportunities and pursue a subject you’re passionate about.
Each of our Mathematics courses run at 2-weeks in length and are available in the world-renowned university cities of Oxford and Cambridge. The perfect time and place for experiencing life away from home, meeting new people, and discovering more about a subject you love.