The latest employment statistics from the Destination for Leavers in Higher Education survey show that geographers are among the most employable university graduates, with just five per cent unemployed and looking for work six months after graduation. These figures illustrate that the skills, knowledge and understanding gained during a geography degree are held in high regard by employers.
The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) supports geography practitioners across all sectors of the economy and a number of initiatives are coming together to enhance the Society’s efforts to improve the recognition of the contribution of geography and geographers in the workplace. This is in line with a strong focus on this area of work that is emerging from the ongoing strategy discussions that will guide the Society’s priorities over the next five-year strategic period.
The Society has accredited individuals who have used geographical knowledge, understanding and skills in the workplace for more than 15 years. Achieving Chartered Geographer status unlocks a number of benefits including the recognition of competence and professionalism, opportunities for personal and professional development, and a range of networking activities. There are currently more than 670 Chartered Geographers from a wide range of professions and this number is growing as the Society forges new relationships with employers and develops three exciting new initiatives. Environmental Resources Management (ERM), a world-leading environmental and sustainability consulting firm, became a Corporate Benefactor in early 2017. Its sponsorship focuses on supporting the Society’s work to advance the professional development of geographers, including the provision of regional training activities and networking. ERM will also be supporting the upskilling of teachers with the techniques and confidence to plan and deliver locally-based environmental fieldwork linked to the new secondary geography curricula.
In addition, the Society and the Association for Geographic Information have agreed a strategic alliance to raise the profile of geographic information (GI) and geography, and to provide support for GI professionals. This work will provide a stronger voice for professional geography and its application in a world of big data.
The Society has also been supporting work, led by Chartered Geographers Jon Pickstone and Alistair Edwardes, to gain recognition and professional support for geographers working across government.
Sir Mark Walport, Government Chief Scientific Advisor and Head of the Government Science and Engineering Profession, has backed the introduction of a Head of Geography within the Government Science and Engineering (GSE) profession. This will give geography and geographers formal professional recognition in government for the first time and thought is now being given to its implementation. This is excellent news for professional geographers and recognition of the contribution that geography makes to analysis, delivery and policy formulation in the public sector.
This was published in the April 2017 edition of Geographical magazine.