Mathematicians are one of the oldest and most noble professions, dating back earlier than the Greek Golden Age. Every great ruler knew they must rely on these great minds to solve complex issues ranging from irrigation to architecture to finance and even warfare. It was difficult to properly build a large siege catapult without having a mathematician on hand to ensure that the geometry of the product will produce the most torque per square foot. These sorts of issues have changed in today’s society, as experts in the field of mathematics are no longer working to build aqueducts. Rather, they are working hand in hand with computers to create some of the most advanced algorithms the world has ever seen.
In the 21st century, Mathematicians are as vital as they have ever been for protecting domestic interests and making sure products and machines work as efficiently and safely as possible. They are developing algorithms to predict change and carry out tasks that would have taken months of human labor to accomplish. With the computing power we have today, these algorithms can increase efficiency by thousands of percent’s. Recently, the Australian National University unveiled the “Raijin” Supercomputer, the fastest computer in Australian history. This 1.2 pet flop monstrosity has over 57,000 functioning cores and 10PB of storage. Whilst computer programmers worked with the bulk of the physical development, Australian Mathematicians worked behind the scenes to help this development. In just ten years, they have worked to maximize the amount of cores the computer could use in one standard command from 8 to 4000 through computational, numerical analysis. There is never a lack of need for those who choose to study Math in school and Australia, in particular, is in dire need to bright young mathematical minds.
In a recent study, the amount of young Australian undergraduates studying Math and Science has significantly dropped, creating a demand that far outstrips the supply. This goes a long way in explaining why Mathematicians here are, on average, the highest paid position in the whole country. With the economic growth in recent decades, industries like Energy and Financial analysis are more strapped than ever to find qualified Math majors willing to work in the field. As a simple rule of Capitalist principles, when the supply of something is low, the effective cost of that product increases to scale. In this case, it is the pay of the Mathematicians that has risen dramatically, often more than six figure salaries for mid-level jobs. From 1998 to 2005, the demand for math graduates increased by 52% whilst the amount of students studying these applicable majors at university decreased by 15% in the same time frame. The percentage of math graduates to overall graduates lags very far behind international standards, a measly .4% to the world average of more than 1%. An issue that needs to be highlighted here is the gender inequality of the position. With next to no women entering the field, the selective pool is decreased by half, off the bat, coupled with the decreasing interest in the field in general. These are all contributing factors in the “Mathematician” position being the most highly paid of any in all of Australia.