Pubs to atomic weapons

In March I’ll be giving a physics careers talk at a Surrey school (Nonesuch School for Girls). I haven’t given a careers talk for ages, I used to do a fair few when I was admissions tutor but I stepped down from that job years ago. So I thought I would see what our graduates actually go on to do, to refresh my memory.

The latest figures are for 2013 graduates. They are kind of what I expected. Typically technical careers. These are both in the private sector, in companies like EDF Energy and MBDA (=Europe’s biggest maker of missiles), and in the public sector, for example at AWE (=Atomic Weapons Establishment – a rather scary title but they also do stuff that doesn’t necessarily involve things that go boom), the National Physical Laboratory and the NHS (as a trainee medical physicist). Also, some of our graduates go into IT, for example at HCL, at IT company, and others go into the finance sector. A graduate went to work for the insurer Allianz. Finally, some go into general graduate careers, e.g. Deputy Manager at the Anchor and Horseshoes.

A number of the graduates are down as being still at university, either Surrey or another university. I think most of these are doing PhDs. The route to high-level research or R&D is via a PhD. I don’t think we survey people to see what they do after they get a PhD. So I don’t think we have a very good idea of how many of our graduates go into research, which is a bit of a pity. Presumably it is some significant fraction of those who go onto to do a PhD.

The same pdf has data for all Surrey degrees. It is interesting to compare physics with similar degrees. An electronic engineering graduate also went to work for EDF. I wonder if they went on the same induction courses as our physics graduate. Others went to work for electronics companies such as ARM and Texas Instruments, as you’d expect. Some others went into jobs in finance, as some physics graduates do.

A lot of the maths graduates go into finance and accountancy jobs, at firms such as AXA, as well as into management careers, for example at KPMG. I guess this is no surprise, there is a lot of money in these professions, and they need numerate people. Maths graduates also go into general jobs, e.g., at the coffee chain Nero’s. One company did jump out a bit: Smartodds, a company that provides data and stats analysis on sports, to people who need such data, including professional gamblers. I did not realise companies that did this existed. But perhaps I should not be surprised, there is certainly money in gambling, and where there is money, there is money to employ people.

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