Social Science Careers in Today’s Job Market

Social Science Careers in Today's Job Market 1

The range of academic disciplines that fall within the social science classification includes anthropologists, archaeologists, psychologists, geographers, historians, political scientists, economists, and urban or regional planners.  That’s a wide range of expertise; it includes looking at cultures present and past, studying their behavior, their economies and the ground beneath them. 

Many of these positions are primarily research oriented.  According to the Department of Labor, over 40% of all social scientists exclusive of psychologists and urban planners work for the federal government.  It’s a good guess that another large group of them teach.  The social sciences comprise a number of fascinating fields; but the number of professionals who have gotten a social science education and are able to utilize it in a commercial or business environment is limited.

  • Psychologists are an exception to that rule.  Clinical psychologists must hold a doctorate and maintain strict licensure.  However there are a number of career options for graduates form a bachelors or masters program in psychology.  Human resource departments in medium and large businesses hire psychology majors to work as interviewers, trainers or recruiters.  Any sort of job that involves extensive human contact and interaction – sales, account management,  counseling jobs that don’t require special licensure, probation and parole workers – all of these professions have psychology graduates in their ranks.
  • Urban and regional planners engage in research, but for very specific purposes with clear objectives in mind.  They work with statistics, economic data and demographics in order to produce recommendations on development questions or plans for a given geographic or political entity. 
  • Political scientists who do graduate work usually teach.  Students with a baccalaureate in political science might find a job opportunity within a municipal, county or state agency handling constituent work or dealing with active civic organizations.  Some cut their teeth doing campaign work and eventually become political consultants.
  • Archaeologists who work for the government often survey proposed development sites to ascertain what, if any evidence may be found there that relates to historical use of the property.  Many anthropologists have found a niche working with businesses that have product development divisions and that want information on how a product may be perceived and used by the public based cultural, physical or sociological factors.  Geographers are generally employed by governments for the purpose of studying the physical impact of proposed development on a piece of real estate. 
  • Graduates with a degree in economics have a lot of options, both in business and in government.  Budget development is a major government function that occurs on an annual basis.  Government agencies also look at the economic impact of many things, from proposed legislation to the closure of military bases to the economic model of a foreign nation.  At the local level, city or county administrators employ economic professionals to manage finances and revenue.  The same is true of businesses, where you may find a former economics student working as a risk manager, financial officer or budget analyst.

If you are interested in studying one of the social sciences you should consider speaking with a career counselor at your (potential) school.  Many colleges today have placement offices and career professionals who work in them.  With persistence, you should be able to find a job opportunity that will allow you to utilize your education in the social sciences.

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