In order to secure good job prospects, and to avoid technological unemployment, STEM subjects are more important than ever, due, as J M Keynes observed,
to our discovery of means of economising the use of labour outrunning the pace at which we can find new uses for labour
AI, machine learning, automation
We’re headed for a world where you’re either going to be able to write algorithms and speak that language or be replaced by algorithms.
Ray Dalio founder of Bridgewater Associates
The rise of AI and automation will put at risk many jobs currently performed by humans. According to the World Economic Forum 7 million jobs will be lost and 2 million created by 2020. Please see this Bloomberg article from January 2016 Rise of Robots will eliminate more than 5 million jobs.
Administrative and office jobs will account for two-thirds of the losses, with “routine white-collar office functions at risk of being decimated,” and there will be gains in computer, mathematical, architecture and engineering-related fields. Women will be disproportionately hit by the changes because of their low participation in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
*Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics
Neil Sheldon, vice-president for education and statistical literacy at the Royal Statistical Society, says: “To enhance one’s position in the jobs market, people should build up their statistical skills.” He says some universities have considered offering statistics training to all undergraduates, as everybody needs to understand and interpret data these days. “Whatever you are doing, statistics is going to be a vital part of doing it well,” he says.
I think that this is an extremely valid point, and all pupils considering STEM as a career route should consider doing statistics at some point.
Degrees and future earnings
2016: Whatever your reason for wanting to do better at maths, whatever path you are considering following after leaving high school, please see the following link which provides data relating earnings 10 years after graduation to subject graduated in:
Nearly all of these subject areas will require a good pass at Higher or Advanced Higher Maths for entry on to the course.
Work at a hedge fund, moi?
Yes, why not! Bloomberg also report (28/8/2016) that hedge funds are seeking to employ more mathematicians Want a hedge fund job? Knowing about wavelets improves your odds. Please see my links section for further info on becoming a quant.
Future proofing your career
Further food for thought from the World Economic Forum: Deep Shift: Technology tipping points and Societal impact, see page 22 on the impact of AI on white collar jobs. And please see the 2013 Oxford Martin School report on the future of employment referred to in Deep Shift.
Maths gets you everywhere
This is a common phrase used in China. Mathematics in the Chinese curriculum is not seen as an elite subject. It is viewed as an essential of life, and one in which everyone can be highly competent if they work at it — an attitude that we really need to import into our educational system.
There are, of course, other perfectly good reasons for being interested in studying maths — give him threepence…