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Sociology graduates have a range of skills that are in demand, including communication and information gathering and analysis – but they need to know how to sell their strengths to employers.

Many sociology graduates are drawn to working in areas such as law, health and education, as well as social and welfare professions. For some of these roles, further study is required in order to qualify. Sociology graduates who want to work in business may find that roles in marketing are a good match for their skills and interests.

This guide should help you think about the skills you have and graduate job roles that might suit you. You will also find out about employment rates for recent sociology graduates and the career areas they found work in, as well as the types of work that sociology students are interested in.

Skills for your CV

You will have gained the ability to do the following things:

  • think and act creatively
  • maintain a flexible mind
  • read pages of text and pick out the essential points
  • conduct research and evaluate sources with a healthy scepticism
  • lead and participate in discussions
  • develop opinions, propose ideas and theories
  • maintain objectivity, particularly towards other people
  • play devil’s advocate
  • have confidence in your opinions
  • base conclusions on statistical research.

Job roles and career areas you could work in

A sociologist’s ability to form and defend an argument, regardless of personal opinions, could be helpful for a career in marketing. Sociology graduates would also be well suited to jobs in the Civil Service and politics.

With further training or qualifications you could succeed in the following job roles:

What do sociology graduates go on to do?

Here’s what sociology 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 45.9
Part-time employment in the UK 15.3
Working overseas 1.3
Working and studying 7.1
Further study 20.o
Unemployed 5.7
Other 4.7

Source: What do graduates do? 2018

Key areas of employment for fresh sociology graduates

These are the top five areas of work taken up by 2017 sociology graduates six months after graduation, according to the 2018 What do graduates do? report.

Areas of employment Percentage
Retail, catering, waiting and bar staff 21.6
Legal, social and welfare professionals 12.2
Clerical, secretarial and numerical clerks 11.6
Other occupations 9.7
Business, HR and finance professionals 10.4

Source: What do graduates do? 2018

Which careers attract sociology students?

Law (barristers) was the most popular career choice for students of social studies subjects, a group that includes sociology, identified by a 2020 survey of more than 71,000 undergraduates carried out by Cibyl (a research business owned by the same company as TARGETjobs). Just over a quarter (25.7%) of social studies students who participated in the survey said they were interested in this area. The most popular careers for students of social studies were as follows:

Career Percentage
Law – barristers 25.7% expressed an interest
Public sector 25.4
Investment banking and investment 20.9
Banking, insurance and financial services 19
Consulting 16.3

Source: Graduate Survey 2020

What salaries can sociology, social policy and anthropology graduates earn?

Want to know what graduates in your degree discipline typically earn in different locations? The Pay Index has provided TARGETjobs with a handy graduate salary tool showing just that.

Famous people with sociology degrees

If none of those float your boat, or you’re starting to believe that ‘sociology degree = career in fast food’ cliché, then you might want to think about these sociology graduates:

  • Michelle Obama – majored in sociology at Princeton University before she met her husband Barack Obama and became first lady of the US.
  • James Blunt – the singer-songwriter has a degree from the University of Bristol.
  • Ronald Reagan – the actor and former US president majored in sociology and economics.

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This describes content that has been written and edited in close collaboration with the organisation, who has funded the feature; it is advertising. We are committed to upholding our ethical values of transparency and honesty when dealing with students and feel that this is the best way not to deceive consumers of our content. The content will be written by GTI editors, but the organisation will have had input into the messaging, provided knowledge and contributors and approved the content.

In Partnership

This content has been written or sourced by AGCAS, the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services, and edited by TARGETjobs as part of a content partnership. AGCAS provides impartial information and guidance resources for higher education student career development and graduate employment professionals.

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