Although overall employment of social scientists is expected to grow only as much as eight percent through 2014, projected growth rates vary by specialty. Anthropologists should experience average employment growth, while employment of geographers, historians, political scientists, and sociologists will grow more slowly, mainly because fewer opportunities exist outside of government and academic settings. Job growth will be very slow in the federal government, a key employer of social scientists.
Anthropologists should see the majority of their employment growth in the management, scientific, and technical consulting services industry. Anthropologists who work as consultants often apply anthropological knowledge and methods to problems ranging from economic development issues to forensics.
Competition will be keen for social science positions. Many jobs in policy, research, or marketing for which social scientists qualify are not advertised exclusively as social scientist positions.
Because of their wide range of skills and knowledge, many social scientists compete for jobs with other workers, such as market and survey researchers, engineers, and statisticians.
A few social scientists will find opportunities as university faculty, although competition for these jobs also will remain strong. Usually, there are more graduates than available faculty positions, although retirements among faculty are expected to rise in the next few years. The growing importance and popularity of social science subjects in secondary schools is strengthening the demand for social science teachers at that level.
Geographers will have opportunities to utilize their skills to advise government, real estate developers, utilities, and telecommunications firms on where to construct new roads, buildings, and power plants and install cable lines. They will also advise on environmental matters, such as where to build a landfill or preserve wetland habitats. Geographers with a background in GIS will find many opportunities applying this technology in nontraditional areas, such as emergency assistance, where GIS can track locations of ambulances, police, and fire rescue units and their proximity to the emergency.Workers in these jobs may be referred to by a different title, such as GIS analyst or GIS specialist. GIS technology also will be utilized in areas of growing importance, such as homeland security and defense.
Historians, political scientists, and sociologists will find jobs in policy or research.Historians may find opportunities with historic preservation societies as public interest in preserving and restoring historical sites increases. Political scientists will be able to utilize their knowledge of political institutions to further the interests of nonprofit, political, and social organizations. Sociologists may find work conducting policy research for consulting firms and nonprofit organizations, and their knowledge of society and social behavior may be used by a variety of companies in product development, marketing, and advertising.