Perhaps one of the least talked-about subject areas to study at university is that of geography. According to the Royal Geographical Society, 30,000 students are currently studying it for a degree and this number has steadily been on the increase.
And when you get out of university with degree in hand, you’re likely to fare pretty well. Back in 2009, the Guardian found that over 93% of graduates in geography had found employment, and that this number has not fallen over the years. But why is this? Well, there are several possible reasons.
Geography graduates are interested in the fields with lots of vacancies – Well, when I say ‘lots’, I mean more than most. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here – we aren’t talking about the most fluid of job markets.
When the Guardian looked at the data, it found that the sectors most likely to benefit from an increase in vacancy supply (accountancy, banking and general management) were all being looked at in great numbers by geography graduates. When they looked at data from Bright Network – a network for graduates, they found that 26% of geographers were looking at employment in these sectors.
It does beg the question though… if you studied for a degree in geography, why on earth would you go into these fields afterwards? Well, it would seem that we are in an age where employers are looking for a good degree and what skills you gain, rather than the actual topic. (This is more true for some subjects than others – imagine waking up to find your surgeon was a computer science graduate.)
The truth is employers love looking for skills, even if in the majority of cases it doesn’t have to be strictly related to the subject you studied at university. The good thing about geography students is that they have great experience in many different skills that prospective employers love…
- Remember all those field trips? Yep, I can remember as a GCSE geography student going to Cheddar Gorge to generally annoy the local residents about their feelings about the town and how much shopping they do (and if they buy ice cream in the summer.) All of your field trips at university, wherever they were, probably involved a great deal of teamwork and planning. Employers are going to like that – someone who works as part of a team and can plan things out.
- Geographers have such a wide range of choices for graduate jobs, including many that have lower unemployment rates than you might think. You would be surprised as to all the different areas you can get into.
So what we decided to do is look at different areas of work that would appreciate a geography student or graduate. People looking into a summer intern or a graduate scheme would do well to look in some of the following areas…
Please forgive me for starting with an obvious one…. Cartography – the art of making and designing maps – is sure to put your love of geography to the test. Physical and human features have to be considered when you make a map so detailed analysis of different features is going to be right up there for you.
Planning what, I hear you ask! Well, you’ll find that housing companies, construction firms and architects are going to want to consult someone with a geographical knowledge to look at the safety and viability of building and planning different buildings in a given place. Contractors will find such skills valuable and councils and other public services could also be interested.
This, arguably, is similar to planning. Transport, with an ever-increasing population, could be one of the more prominent areas to get into. As transport companies get involved in trying to find new and effective ways of moving the population about, a solid grasp of landscapes and the limitations of such solutions becomes extremely vital to how we operate public transport. Seriously worth looking in to.
The Education route
The ability to solve problems and work as a team immediately could put you in a classroom, teaching and hopefully inspiring pupils. If you’re still a student and want to take advantage of the holidays and an ever-increasing demand for summer tuition, why not get yourself online and become a geography tutor online? It is a great way to get started, whatever route you choose.