Mathematicians in demand


Be a game changer

Wanna make a difference? Do the maths.

Mathematicians solve a bunch of problems – from inventing smart energy systems, to defending cyber borders. But you won’t see ‘mathematician’ in their job title. So, what are these problem-solving careers?

Holly Briffa completed a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Actuarial Science from the University of Melbourne. Now, Holly’s an Associate at Strategic Project Partners, a general management consulting firm, where she tackles tough questions like: Should a business client build a new skyscraper in the CBD? Or: What is the benefit to society of a client’s research in neurotrauma treatment? And, guess what? Holly’s solutions include maths.

“The answer may involve modelling demand, quantifying risk, or simulating different scenarios. And it almost always involves financial modelling,” she says.

Lots of people in the business sector need a maths skill set. Take data scientists, analysts and engineers, who use maths, statistics and programming to analyse business problems. Outside the business world, maths is still super important for putting solutions in place around things such as climate change, poverty and migration.

David Cock, a postdoctoral researcher at ETH Zurich in Switzerland, is working to stop billions of computers running on software “never written with reliability in mind” from being hacked. He warns students: “A maths degree doesn’t teach you all of the necessary on-the-job skills. But you’ll have a very solid foundation on which to add those skills, and mathematicians are in demand just about everywhere.”

– Ben Skuse



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Facebook: @LowyInstitute


Bachelor of Data Science and Decisions, UNSW Sydney

Bachelor of Business Information Systems (Data Analytics), Swinburne University of Technology

Security Engineering – Applied Cyber Security MOOC


Construction Manager/engineer *98,269

Optimisation consultant *55,000

Data analyst *$68,633

*median salary correct at March 2017 via Payscale


CSIRO | Deloitte | Woolworths

Ben Skuse

Author: Ben Skuse

Ben Skuse is a UK-based former mathematician turned professional science writer, who has written for the Careers with STEM magazines for over 5 years. You can follow him on Twitter @BenSkuseSciComm.

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