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What possible choices do fresh Phds have if they can't find a job,especially for pure math,provided current job market is tight?

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I think that more information is needed to make this question closer to answerable, and not overly broad. E.g., could you please give some indication of what sort of thing you're looking for, so that we know that "move back in with your parents" and "work overtime at McDonald's" are not helpful answers? More seriously, depending on whether or not the degree has yet been conferred, I've heard that sometimes delaying graduation a year is a good idea (provided you can get some sort of support/financial aid at your school). –  Jonas Meyer Feb 6 '11 at 6:56
What do you mean with tight? Inner and outer regular? :D. –  Jonas Teuwen Feb 6 '11 at 20:06

2 Answers 2

Presuming you mean when an -academic- job market is tight (research, or separately teaching at the university level), there's:

  • finance - supposedly they're always looking for people who can come up with mathematical models
  • software development - not necessarily to -do- programming, but to help with analysis of problems. depends on the application itself of course, and helps to have some computer skills
  • secondary school - yes, this sounds like a downgrade of expectations, and there's the extra overhead of extra credentialing for the public school system, but it -is- academic.

What I'm saying is that for pure math, well, applied math is where the jobs are outside of academia. MS Research, whatever the AT&T version that still exists, and the NSA might be a places where one can do -some- pure math as long as there is some ostensible, tenuous link to an application.

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In addition to the above, you can start taking the actuarial exams and try to become an actuary. But you'll need a couple of exams passed to be competitive for jobs in that.

Most of the pure math PhD's I know who left academia ended out in jobs involving a lot of programming, either in finance or for the US government, the latter normally at the NSA, IDA, or defense contractors. If you're foreign I'm not sure what the analogues are.

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