The Sutton Trust, the leading think-tank, today suggested that Maths should be compulsory for young people until they are 18. It believes that studying Maths would help prepare young people for the world of work. This is undoubtedly a contentious subject, as maths has long been regarded as a difficult and boring subject. However, in the long run, persevering with Maths can lead to a stimulating and financially rewarding career.
Those who study Maths earn more, on average, than those who study Humanities or Arts. Research by LSE in 2008 found that those with Maths at A-level earn up to 10% more than those without Maths at A-level. Moreover, in 2012, the Graduate Recruitment Bureau also found that the average starting salary for Maths graduates was £23,160, compared with English graduates, who begin on £18,338, and Geography graduates, who can expect to earn about £19,844. For Maths-related careers, the findings are even more revealing: Accountancy trainees start on around £26,000, Bankers on approximately £27,000 and Investment Bankers significantly more, with an average starting salary of £38,000.
Compare this with Humanities related careers: those who get a job in Media will find that their salaries range from about £7 an hour up to £22,000 a year. Similarly, Editorial Assistants can earn anything from £14,000 to £20,000 and in-house Copy Editors will make about £18,000. Getting a ‘dream job’ seems to come at a premium.
Another thing to bear in mind is the fact that a firm grasp of maths can still pay dividends in many ‘creative’ jobs. The Sutton Trust’s report found Maths was a basic grounding for most jobs. A modern workforce needs to be competent in mental arithmetic, estimation and approximation, reasoning, using calculators or spreadsheets and interpreting tables, graphs and diagrams.
So, young people ready to put away their calculators after GCSE might want to think twice. Numerical skills are the building blocks of a successful career.
Read the Sutton Trust report here