Mathematics and Statistics skills and careers
In the UK many graduates enter employment where a degree in any subject would be acceptable. In this instance what they offer the employer is evidence of the range of competencies which have been developed through their academic study, rather than the specific subject content of their degree. Mathematics and Statistics graduates are very marketable in this respect because of their analytical and problem solving skills which are particularly relevant to fields such as business, computing (web developer, software engineer), finance, law and management consultancy.
This page will focus on careers directly related to maths and statistics, but if you want to explore all of the choices open to you, also refer to the help available in Further resources for planning your career .
Given the current economic climate and the increased competition for graduate positions, it is important to consider a wide range of occupational areas. Bear in mind that many careers require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your first degree.
Mathematics and Statistics graduates are employed in all areas of the public and private sectors, business and commerce, large and small firms, in positions of responsibility that lead to management, but there are also opportunities for self-employment, as a financial adviser for example.
The extent of opportunities is great and you'll be equipped with skills and knowledge required for jobs in fields such as accountancy, education, engineering, science, defence and the pharmaceutical industry. There are some careers for which a degree in mathematics and/or statistics is often specified, for example teaching, statistical work (including actuarial work), operational research and development and some areas of computing.
For further research into the possibilities see the website of The National STEM Centre which provides information on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) across England.
Career areas directly related to mathematics and statistics include:
- mathematical medicine
- stock broking/trading
- actuarial work
- operational research
- market research
- quantitative analysis/risk analysis
- financial engineering
- management consultancy
- project management
- teaching and outreach work.
With such a range of opportunities, mathematics and statistics graduates remain highly marketable and employable even during times of economic recession.
We advise you to thoroughly research your career choices as early as possible, particularly in relation to experience required, differences relating to where you live, or where the study choices you make may affect future opportunities.
Further useful links
These resources will help you to explore careers areas in further detail.
You will also find information about general job vacancy sites, work experience and volunteering at:
Many Maths and Statistics graduates undertake further study on completion of their first degree and/or after gaining relevant work experience. Reasons for doing so include wanting to explore an aspect of their studies in more depth, to further or change their career, because a specific postgraduate qualification is either an entry requirement for their chosen career or would be an advantage if entry is competitive.
Generally, postgraduate study can open up opportunities to work in higher education, research and is a requirement for specific careers including actuarial work and operational research.
The OU offers postgraduate study options for both taught and research awards in Mathematics.
It is important to research further study options comprehensively by exploring the range of postgraduate courses and research opportunities on offer, and funding possibilities to ensure you make the correct choice, for the right reasons and importantly that you can afford it, as funding for postgraduate study is very different to the undergraduate system.