Sociology: What lies ahead?
There is a perception that there are relatively less opportunities open for sociology graduates or post graduates. Students who don't get into the subjects of their choice take this subject; others take it up as a subject for Civil Services Examination. But now vistas are opening and apart from teaching, sociology can get jobs in various sectors including MNCs. People who have a Bachelor's degree in sociology are frequently employed in the helping professions, in business, and in various public sector positions, especially those dealing with social programs and their implementation.
Employment opportunities for those with Bachelor's degrees in sociology include entry-level positions in the following areas: administration, advertising, banking, counseling (family planning, career, substance abuse, and so forth), community planning, health services, journalism, group and recreation work, marketing research, sales, teaching (if certified), human resources/personnel work, social services, and social research.
Students of sociology are usually given preference for projects associated with population studies, research conducted by the Survey of India and other organisations doing work related to demography. Those with a sociology background can find work as census officers or population research assistants. If one combines a Master's degree in sociology with short-duration courses like Diploma in Population Education, Diploma in Statistics or Environmental Studies, one gets an extra edge while being considered for a job.
Those who specialise in social psychology can work as counsellors in hospitals or with NGOs. Another specialisation of this subject is sociology of medicine after which one can work as a data collection officer in the field of medical research. Social welfare is a wide field that offers options to work not only in hospitals but also with NGOs and governmental organisations. Probation Officers are appointed in various Child Welfare Departments where they are made in charge of juvenile homes or observation cells.
International bodies like the WHO (World Health Organization) and the UNO (United Nations Organisation) frequently advertise for projects wherein the services of people with knowledge of sociology are required. In fact, the Social Welfare Departments of all states as well as the Government of India also carry out research projects for which vacancies for sociologists are regularly advertised. Research-based NGOs too are offering work.
Apart from that all organisations concerned with the planning of policies for specific sections of society, like the National Commission of Women or the National Commission on Children, offer ample opportunities for the graduates of this discipline. Short-term courses in urban planning too are offered by different universities which are an added qualification.
If one has interest there is a lot of demand for sociologists in immigration services and the international Red Cross. It is always better to do a short-term course abroad as it equips sociologists for specialised jobs. Sociologists are also required to work as labour officers in business houses to look after the problems of employees.
To be more specific sociology addresses the needs of largely three sets of people. Firstly, there are those who genuinely understand the social processes and relations. The second group is those students who take it up to pursue some other degree, for instance those who want to take up MBAs will take up Industrial Sociology. The third is where this option by itself ensures a career. Industrial relations, healthcare system, gerontology (diseases of old people), reproductive and child health, urban administration, women's empowerment — the avenues are unlimited in both government and non-governmental organisations.
The discipline should continue to focus more and more on specialised areas depending upon the requirements of society. Fields like health, population, environment and development studies are set to see enormous growth.
The emoluments vary from one organisation to another. In the private sector or in a project sponsored by an international agency, the rumeneration might be Rs.15,000 per month or more whereas in a government project it is limited by the funds.
A list of career opportunities
Marketing and Market Research
In a nutshell the discipline deserves serious consideration for the many doors it opens.