Careers Options in Anthropology

Our graduates go on to employment in a wide variety of careers. Anthropology has become increasingly important as a job skill in an information-based global economy, where an understanding of cultural difference is crucial - from local to international contexts. Anthropology provides good preparation for a career in community work, education, the health professions, product design, international aid and development projects, NGO work, and business and administration. The holder of a PhD is a professional anthropologist qualified to teach at university level, to carry out advanced research, or to apply anthropology in the public or private sector, at the national and international level.

Take a look at this short film where Professor David Prendergast discusses an example of the sort of work an anthropologist may do in a large multinational corporation as well as smart cities, the internet of things, and autonomous vehicles.


What Our Graduates Are Doing

Anthony Kelly
L’Atelier BNP Paribas is among few companies with in-house digital anthropologists. In this QA, Anthony Kelly explains digital anthropology from his perspective, why it matters, what purpose it serves in companies and for communities … and whose work makes him say wow:
Digital Anthropology at L'Atelier BNP Paribas

William Peat (MA 2010)
After doing his Master's thesis on the Irish diaspora in San Francisco, William Peat (MA 2010) went on to co-found NGen Ireland, a non-governmental/non-profit organization that is "a new social initiative looking to discover, accelerate and celebrate Ireland’s next generation of change-makers. A generational movement, our initiative empowers Irish aged 23-33 to create a greater impact in Ireland’s future".

Ciarán Walsh interviewed some current and former Maynooth University Anthropology students for his article in the Irish Independent Weekend, 4th January 2014:

Where are anthropologists employed?

EPIC: Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Network - EPIC are a global community of ethnographic practitioners working in government services, NGOs, technology corporations, product and service design companies, and research institutes. 

Why anthropologists join an Ebola outbreak team. "Understanding local customs — and fears — can go a long way in getting communities to cooperate with international health care workers, says Barry Hewlett, a medical anthropologist at Washington State University."

Here's Why Companies Are Desperate To Hire Anthropologists. "While most execs are masters of analyzing spreadsheets, creating processes, and pitching products, anthropologists ... can arrive at customer insights that big data tends to gloss over, especially around the role that products play in people's lives. That information is more valuable than you might think. What customers want from a product and what companies think they want can be totally different, but it can take an anthropological lens to learn why."

The hour of anthropology may have struck! Toronto Star columnist Rick Salutin writes: "I keep encountering anthropologists who help more in understanding how the world works today than other experts do, even in their own fields." Read the full commentary - follow the link above.

Anthropology in Business Less than half of all students who graduate with a PhD in anthropology will go on to jobs in academia. Follow the link for some examples of anthropologists working in the world of business.

Development NGOs often advertise specifically for anthropologists. Follow this link to see an example of a position announcement posted by Oxfam.

Forbes article: Why an Anthropologist, not a Technologist was the best choice for HHS CTO Role

Maynooth University Careers and Employability Service

At Maynooth University, the Careers and Employability Service provides a service that is student-focussed, professional and informative.  They are happy to assist you and work with you as you progress through the steps in discovering your career.