We use mathematics every day, yet many students struggle to connect what they’re learning in the classroom to the real world. Some may not understand the career implications of mathematics expertise, and why it would be important to put in extra effort to improve mathematics grades. According to our new career outlook report, however, students who build up their mathematical skills may have a very bright future ahead of them.
Our study highlights the most lucrative mathematics-related careers in the UK and U.S. To determine our list of mathematics jobs, we looked for words in job descriptions like “science, math, data, data analysis, technology” to determine jobs that could most feasibly use mathematics. We wanted to be as inclusive as possible with our occupation selections to show the full range of math-related jobs, beyond hard-skilled mathematics jobs such as mathematicians and engineers.
Data collected from the Office for National Statistics in the UK and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics was used to determine the highest-paying careers, average salaries, and expected job growth across industries. This information was designed to help students better understand career opportunities, and we hope it will inspire them to set and achieve new educational goals.
Though some industries rely on them more heavily than others, businesses around the world need mathematicians in order to function and be successful. Most mathematics-related career opportunities are found in the finance and insurance industries. Some examples of occupations in these industries include the following:
Average annual salaries in the finance and insurance industries are about £45,000 in the UK ($59,000 USD) and $75,000 (£57,000) in the U.S. The highest-paying locations are Washington, D.C., and London, which makes sense given the high cost of living in these areas. Take a closer look at salary rates throughout the rest of the states and UK regions below.
To determine where you can make the most money in a mathematics career in the UK, we compared data for all mathematical science jobs in all regions, across all industries. The map below shows the average annual salaries for all mathematics careers throughout the country, plus if a region was over or under the national annual salary average.
When observing mathematicians’ salaries in the UK, England reserves the number one spot for highest paid mathematicians in the country, with an average salary of $72,298 (£55,423). At the other end of the spectrum ranks Wales, with an average salary of just $48,414 (£37,114), $1,191 (£913) below the national average. Given England’s top spot, it makes sense that mathematicians in London – the capital of the UK – seem to be benefiting the most, boasting an average salary that’s $22,971 (£17,609) above the national average. more than its neighboring regions, three times more than the national average. While this may be impressive in the UK, London’s average salary is still well under that of the average mathematician salary in the U.S. capital, Washington, D.C. (Those in D.C. make approx. $35,000 (£27,000) more than those in London.)
Below is a similar chart to the one above, but this one showcases the average mathematics-related salaries of all 50 states in the U.S.
With an annual average wage of, $107,000 (£82,000) Washington, D.C. offers the highest-paying mathematics jobs in the U.S. California was in second place with $106,000 (£81,000). Oregon, New York, Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey also had fairly high salaries (£77,000) ($100,000), compared to most states. Higher-than-average wages were found in a few Southwestern and Midwestern states, too. This may be due to the fact that D.C. and Virginia are hubs for many government jobs, California is home to Silicon Valley, New York is home to Wall Street (and many tech companies). The northeastern U.S. is also home to a number of prestigious universities, where the salaries may be higher.
Now that we’ve established where you are most likely to find the highest salaries, we’d next like to take a look at how compensation can be affected by industry. Check out the chart below to see which industries in the UK are bringing in the most income, as well as the least.
Corporate and business management industries were among the most lucrative, while skilled agricultural trades ranked as the least, with wages astoundingly lower than the national average, nearly $18,000 (£14,000) less. Although corporate managers pull in over $26,000 (£20,000) more than the national average in the UK, it’s nearly a third less than what their occupational counterparts in the US are compensated.
According to the data we analyzed, the top three most lucrative industries for mathematics jobs in the U.S. are currently mining, manufacturing, and information—likely due to the highly specialized set of skills needed for these industries.
Clearly, the UK and the U.S. have differences in salaries when it comes to industry type. The most lucrative industry in the U.S. for jobs that rely on mathematics was mining. Individuals in this industry earn nearly $24,000 (£18,400) over the national average.
Meanwhile, those working in the food service industry earn over $24,000 (£18,400) less than the national average. The education industry is in this same boat – those working in this industry earn $18,500 (£14,000) under the national average. Given the importance of these roles for the functioning of society, these numbers are concerning.
To find out which specific roles are the most – as well as the least – appealing to those considering a career in mathematics, we next explored how salaries varied by occupation.
The specific occupations in the UK didn’t vary much when compared to the most lucrative industries. Corporate managers, directors, and business media service professionals ranked at the top. Invertedly, skilled agricultural, construction, and other trades occupations were ranked as least lucrative. Falling wages across the UK may contribute to employees seeking higher-paying industries in the near future, prompting many individuals to seek out new skills to break into these industries.
Our next chart takes a peek at what these occupation salaries look like in the U.S. Again, just as it was with industries, the differences between the compensations in the U.S. and the UK are significant.
Petroleum engineers, physicists, and astronomers topped the charts with six-figure salaries, while teachers were found among the lowest-paid job titles. The job outlook for mathematicians and statisticians is phenomenal in the U.S., as employment opportunities are projected to grow 33% over the next decade. This rate is more than four times as fast as the average growth projected for all U.S. industries. To work as a mathematician or statistician, students will need to earn higher education degrees, as most entry-level positions require at least a master’s degree. Employees in this field often work at colleges or universities, for the government, in health care, or in research and development.
Did you know that 94% of all workers use mathematics on the job? As our society grows towards an increasingly data-centric approach to how we make decisions, as businesses and individuals, mathematics becomes increasingly important. While many companies harness data to make decisions and analyse progress, demands for data literacy among employees grows, as it becomes more important to be able to analyse numbers, crunch data and form insights based on data. Building a strong foundation in mathematics is clearly a fantastic investment in a young student’s future. Third Space Learning’s targeted maths interventions, with reliable and engaging tutors have been proven to boost progress and bridge learning gaps. As part of the National Tutoring Programme and serving pupil premium students, Third Space Learning aims to strengthen all students’ mathematics skills. Connect with us today to learn more about personalized online lessons for students struggling with mathematics and how our online math tuition, targeted maths interventions, primary maths resources and GCSE maths revision resources can help.
We collected data from the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to find the highest-paying mathematics-related careers. We compared average salaries and current employment numbers to determine which careers are the most and least lucrative within each industry. Average annual salary data for all mathematics careers broken down by region was not available from the ONS.
Interested in inspiring others with these future career possibilities in mathematics? Please feel free to share and link to our report for any noncommercial purposes.