You will often hear the term ‘numerate graduate’ mentioned when graduate careers or degree choices are being discussed, but just what is a numerate graduate? Degrees in mathematics related subjects (maths, statistics, physics etc.) often produce what’s described as numerate graduates, as they train graduates to build models and analyse and simulate situations and make predictions. These skills make numerate graduates useful as they possess the skills to analyse data, find patterns and make predictions. This analytical and predictive ability is indispensable to businesses as they want to operate as efficiently and effectively as they can in an uncertain future and if they can foresee how a market might change or how successful a production process might be before doing it they will be able to maintain a competitive edge.
So what does this mean for you? Well numerate graduates are sought after and in short supply, and this skill might what clinches that graduate job for you, a lot of other workplace skills can be developed by a company in a candidate, but without a solid mathematical base after undergraduate it is very unlikely that numeracy will be developed later.
Aside from positioning the graduate for job hunting after their degree, the methods of analysis and ways of thinking about the world that are instilled in graduates as they develop their mathematical skills are transferable into decision making and management. Taking an analytical approach and stripping a problem down to its critical factors can often give an edge in situations where others are bogged down or confused.
A numerate graduate also possesses the ability to confidently deal with mathematical situations which arise at work, often co-workers may complain about having to do maths or their lack of mathematical ability. The ability to call on this confidence will not only win points with your superiors but also decrease stress as there are very few jobs without any maths involved. This confidence is gained by having had to solve problems at university which are typically more difficult than those encountered on a day to day basis in the work place.
If you are at the stage of considering what degree to choose to apply for, at least some thought should be given to how that degree will develop one’s numeracy skills. The modern workplace will give plenty of opportunities for graduates to develop soft skills or even gain life experience more generally, but if a graduate misses the opportunity to be seen as numerate at the beginning of one’s career (based upon their choice of degree) it will often never be presented again.