What can I do with a mathematics degree?

What can I do with a mathematics degree?

Employers see maths students as logical, numerate and committed. They are particularly sought after in the finance sector, as well as in areas such as logistics, retail and consumer products.

This guide should help you think about the skills you have, the jobs they can be applied to, and the options available. You will also find out about what other maths graduates have gone on to do.

Skills for your CV

Skills you should have picked up include:

  • logical and quantitative thinking
  • numeracy
  • ability to handle tricky intellectual challenges
  • problem solving skills
  • statistical inference

Job roles and career areas you could work in

Mathematicians are in high demand from software companies. If you can show you can program, you are likely to be in as strong a position as a computer science or IT graduate when applying for roles with these organisations.

Whatever career path you take after completing your degree, you may need to take further qualifications or training. Maths students are particularly likely to be suited to the following job roles:

What do mathematics graduates go on to do?

Here’s what mathematics graduates who finished their degrees in 2016 were doing six months after graduating, according to the What do graduates do? report published in 2017.

Destination Percentage
Full-time employment in the UK 47.9
Part-time employment in the UK 7.9
Working overseas 1.6
Working and studying 6.0
Further study 23.4
Unemployed 7.3
Other 5.9

Source: What do graduates do? 2017

Key areas of employment for fresh mathematics graduates

These are the top five areas of work taken up by 2016 mathematics graduates six months after graduation, according to the 2017 What do graduates do? report.

Areas of employment Percentage
Business, HR and finance professionals 41.3
Information technology professionals 12.6
Education professionals 9.4
Retail, catering, waiting and bar staff 9.3
Clerical, secretarial and numerical clerks 7.3

Source: What do graduates do? 2017

Which careers attract mathematical science and statistics students?

Banking, insurance and financial services, and investment banking and investment, were jointly the most popular career choices for students of mathematical science and statistics identified by a 2017 survey of more than 60,000 undergraduates carried out by trendence UK, a partner of TARGETjobs’ parent company GTI. Just over one in ten (11%) of mathematical science and statistics students who participated in the survey said they were interested in each of these areas. The most popular careers for students of mathematical science and statistics were as follows:

Career Percentage
Investment banking and investment 11% expressed an interest
Banking, insurance and financial services 11
Accounting and financial management 8
Consulting 7

Source: trendence UK Graduate Study 2017

Famous people with maths degrees

There are plenty of famous people who have taken their mathematics degrees in other directions. Take these for example:

  • Rachel Riley – studied at the University of Oxford before replacing Carol Vorderman as the presenter of Countdown.
  • Dara Ó Briain – the host of Mock the Week has a degree in maths and theoretical physics from University College Dublin.
  • Lewis Carroll – studied and later taught at Christ Church College, Oxford, where he wrote Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.