the most useless degree - Anthro

What do those with Anthropology Degrees Do?

A degree in Anthropology is interesting…but as this short excerpt from an article in the Guardian shows…most anthro grads do what they might have done with no degree

Of the anthropology graduates who left university in 2008, 51% were in employment after six months in a diverse range of careers such as advertising and sales (8%), business and finance (6%) and public or private sector management (12%). However, a large number were working in catering (15%) or in clerical roles (20%).

Anthropology graduates also commonly pursue careers in the civil service, conservation and heritage management. “Working for charities and museums, or lecturing, would also be potential options,” adds Holbrough.

Don’t forget about Teaching English in foreign countries, since nearly a third of all the foreign teachers I’ve met thus far hold degrees in Anthro. Of course, teaching is actually great field work since you have to encourage students (subjects) to speak and the easiest thing to get them to talk about is their culture.

Sadly though, this opportunity is no longer what it once was because of the rise of “Voluntourism” in which retired baby boomers are paying hefty fees to go to foreign countries and teach English and because the shriveling of the global jobs market has created an excess of graduates (of all degrees) with no opportunities for a career at home who see teaching English as a foreign language as a means to travel and see the world (which it is).

The result? The average salary for TEFL teachers has dropped nearly 50% over the past four years while the cost of living in most host countries has risen at the same time. In addition, the glut of candidates has made it increasingly difficult to find positions with reputable schools thus leading to situations like the one we recently encountered.

What can you do with an anthropology degree? Well, you can do what I’m about to do. Take a long walk in Izmir and enjoy a sunny day – even if the coal smog is a little bit bothersome. On my walk, I will probably think about money, observe some Turkish culture, and weigh my options- among them – paying for that very interesting degree in Anthropology. :)

4 thoughts on “What do those with Anthropology Degrees Do?”

  1. I have an anthropology degree from a university in the US, and eventually want to go back to graduate school to get an advanced degree so I can do research. I was fortunate not to have to pay for my degree (yay for scholarships) and so don’t have to worry too much about paying back loans, but I also can’t find a job with just a bachelor’s degree! And anyway, I’m 22! I’m too young to have a career for the rest of my life right now!
    So, yes, I’m also planning to move abroad to teach English… I find it interesting that so many of us anthro’s had the same thought. I find I love to travel (have been to at least 1 new country every year the past 3 years since I started traveling abroad when I studied in France in 08) and it does indeed bring out my curious anthropological nature.

  2. We’re not really fit to have jobs at any age Kaylin. Smart with the scholarships. I’m on perpetual deferrment and a possible future default plan.

  3. I thoroughly enjoy anthropological research though, so I don’t think I’d mind at all have that as a job, just NOT YET. I can see myself getting really into it in my 30’s and 40’s but right now while I’m young, I’d like to explore the world and just enjoy it without having to discuss and interpret every little cultural thing that goes on in a place I’m visiting.

    As for the loans/scholarships, I have one small loan which paid for my summer study abroad in France that I am paying back now (and making some decent headroom on, having paid back about 25% of it since graduating 1.5 years ago), but I was very fortunate to have a full scholarship to pay for the rest of my schooling; good on me for going to a state school and be going at standardized tests I guess. I’ll probably have to get some loans for graduate school though… not really looking forward to that, although I’m going to try my damnedest to get a fellowship instead.

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