What You Need to Know as a Mathematics Graduate in Hong Kong
Mathematics pervades all aspects of one’s life and it helps develops necessary skills in logical thinking and statistical or strategical knowledge which is needed and valued by all departments. Many job sectors of departments rely on the use of mathematics for development, which give a wide opportunity for mathematics graduates in a career. Hong Kong values mathematics as an essential in learning as it is1:
- A means of communication
- A tool for studying other disciplines
- A mode of intellectual thinking and;
- A discipline in which students can develop their skills
Being a graduate and having a degree in mathematics provides you an international employment opportunity in various job sectors to choose from, ranging from careers that directly relate to the degree such as actuary, operational researcher, research scientist, secondary school teacher and statisticians; to careers where your degree would be useful such as aerospace engineer, chartered accountant, corporate investment banker, insurance underwriter, investment analyst, meteorologist, quantity surveyor, software tester and many more2.
Having studied mathematics and statistics, it prepares you for a broad range of careers to choose from by providing you with the skills of problem solving, computing and communicating that employers look for. With a mathematics degree, it allows you to have a list a few requirements in your CV that a potential employer could be looking for, such as:
- Designing and conducting observational and experimental studies
- Analysing and interpreting data, finding patterns and drawing conclusions
- information technology
- Approaching problems in an analytical and rigorous way, formulating theories and applying them to solve problems
- Deal with abstract concepts
- Presenting mathematical arguments and conclusions with accuracy and clarity
- Advanced numeracy and analysing large quantities of data
- Logical thinking
Although it is not required, some employers look for candidates who have computer skills in programming (C++ or Java or SAS). You also develop personal skills that employers expect, including:
- Communication skills (both oral and written)
- Time management
- Organisation skills and working methodically and accurately
- Teamwork and the ability to work independently
There are a range of occupations in demand in all job sectors for those with a degree in mathematics and statistics such as petroleum and nuclear industries, medicines and IT, many forms of engineering, government departments, and even mathematics teachers in Hong Kong secondary school. Additionally, in a more specific look into the demands of occupation, there are shortages of expertise in statistics, risk management and financial mathematics.
Around 30% of mathematics graduates undertake further study or combine study and work after graduation for more career opportunities. Further studies into Masters can be useful for a career opportunity in maths-related careers such as operational research, medical statistics, meteorology and engineering design. Having a PhD would also be helpful and is essential for academic careers.
In late 2014, according to Jobs DB Hong Kong Limited through an online survey, the top five paying functions in Hong Kong include banking/finance, professional services, education, building and construction, and information technology (IT)3, making it convenient to those with a degree in mathematics as popular areas of work for mathematics graduates include finance, teaching and IT.
1 The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Mathematics Education, 2015
2 Prospects, What Can I Do With My Degree? Mathematics, 2015
3 hk.jobsdb.com, Companies in Hong Kong Paying Top Dollar for Graduates to Provide Banking and Finance Services, 2015