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Why geographers are employable

Geography graduates are very employable, with the skills, knowledge and understanding gained during a geography degree are held in high regard by employers.

Geography graduates are very employable, with the skills, knowledge and understanding gained during a geography degree held in high regard by employers.

Geography graduates also have a good range of careers options across sectors, are paid above average salaries and enjoy rapid progression to more senior roles. 

Geography graduates

Geographers develop relevant knowledge and skills over the course of their degree. As a result, they are valued highly by employers and go into a range of sectors and careers. 

Geography is an intellectually challenging subject. Graduates leave with:

  • A knowledge of a breadth of subject matter and the complex intersections of society and the environment. 

  • The ability to make sense of the world using a diverse range of methods, including both qualitative and quantitative research techniques. 

  • Experience of using these techniques to study real-world problems through projects, fieldwork and experiential learning. 

  • The capability to synthesise ideas and information and to communicate these clearly. 

  • The ability to use other techniques, such as laboratory study, spatial data analysis, modelling, geographic information science (GISci) and remote sensing.

  • A knowledge of, and skills in, the ethical, methodological and theoretical frameworks that inform their conduct.


Knowledge, understanding and skills wanted by employers

A knowledge of global challenges

Geographers are well placed to help identify and address economic, environmental and social challenges at a range of scales. This includes issues such as climate change, migration, inequality, geopolitics, and natural disasters.

The World Economic Forum global risks report 2023 outlines all these as major risks that could cause significant negative impact to the global economy, populations and natural resources. Geographers are uniquely well-placed to address these issues in professional roles.


Green skills

Geography degrees provide graduates with an acute awareness of the current drivers of economic change, such as climate change, net zero, the green economy and environmental management. The subject also prepares graduates for changing economic, technological, and cultural conditions of a green economy.

The growth of the ‘green economy’ is opening up new sectors and roles that demand green skills

  • A 2022 report by Deloitte documented growing demand for these skills - green jobs increased by 8% between 2021-2022 whilst total UK employment increased by 0.5%.

  • The UK Government Green Jobs Taskforce report outlines the skills required to deliver UK net zero targets, including digital and data skills.


Geospatial skills

Geographers understand the importance of location data and how to unlock its value. They have skills in the collection, analysis and interpretation of geospatial data, with expertise in GIS and Earth Observation.

The Geospatial Commission estimated that location data has a potential economic benefit to the UK of up to £11 billion per year. The geospatial industry is growing rapidly and geography graduates who are able to illustrate understanding and practise of these technologies are increasingly sought after.

The Demand for Geospatial Skills report for the Geospatial Commission highlights a diverse range of geospatial skills wanted by employers including processing, management, analysis, and visualisation of geospatial data.


Transferable skills

Geography graduates are numerate, literate, good team workers, able to think analytically and critically, and are highly data literate: Prospects - Geography.

These transferable skills can be applied across sectors and are valued by employers: 

  • Forbes identify digital literacy, data literacy and critical thinking as the top three most in-demand skills for the next 10 years.

  • In 2020, as part of the Job Reset Summit, the World Economic Forum (WEF) highlighted that 50% of all employees will need reskilling by 2025 due to the adoption of technology. The WEF identify analytical thinking and innovation, complex problem solving, critical thinking and analysis, and leadership and social influence in the top 10 skills for 2025.

  • Good communication, effective leadership and management, planning and research skills and teamwork and interpersonal skills were all identified by Prospects as skills wanted by employers in a 'What skills do employers want?' 2021 report.


Employability of geography graduates

Recent reports have demonstrated the strong employability of geography graduates:

  • The 2023 Prospects report, What do graduates do?, provides insights and analysis from the UK’s largest Higher Education Survey. The report shows that in 2019/20 geographers had the joint highest full-time employment rate for social sciences at 54.9% compared to an average rate of 50.1%.

  • The report also shows that physical and geographical sciences had the second highest full-time employment rate for science graduates at 51.9%, behind only chemistry.   

  • The 2021/22 Prospects report states that geography graduates have some of the highest salaries in the social sciences.