What draws a student to the disciplines within the humanities and social sciences? Love of learning? A passion for the subject matter? An interest in the subjects that are the core of a classic, well-rounded university education?
What deters a student from following his or her leaning towards a liberal arts degree? Negative economic news? Well-intended advice from the proponents of business school or a STEM field? Fear of rendering oneself unemployable after years of education?
There is good news out there for university students, including those with humanities or social sciences degrees. Yes, you can get a job – perhaps a job you haven’t even thought of yet – with a liberal arts degree in your hand.
The Wall Street Journal discusses how the disparity in pay between humanities/social science majors and many of their counterparts narrows in the years following graduation. Moreover, it notes that among the top five traits desired by employers are teamwork, writing ability, problem-solving, and oral communication skills.
An article on the FiveThirtyEight site reports on research that shows that because technology is leading to the automation of purely technical jobs, "people skills" — communicating clearly, being a team player, appreciating social perceptiveness — are growing in demand.
A new report by the Georgetown Center for Education and the Workforce shows that the economy in recent years has improved most in "good jobs" (minimum $53,000 / year annual salary, and often including benefits). The largest growth area among these good jobs? Jobs in the category managerial and professional office--the kind of jobs in which liberal arts graduates frequently find employment--more than double the next highest category, STEM (see page 14 of the report).
In a study reported on the Forbes website, LinkedIn found that the tech sector holds plenty of opportunity for graduates with degrees in the humanities and social sciences. In fact, the researchers found that hiring of liberal arts majors in tech companies grew 10% faster than the hiring of computer science or engineering majors.
Eugene Tobin, a senior program officer for higher education and scholarship in the humanities at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and a former president of Hamilton College, emphasizes the potential synergies of STEM fields and humanities disciplines.
A "divide" between STEM and the liberal arts? An article on the Forbes website describes how the tech industry is seeking liberal arts graduates to connect with customers and drive creativity. The human touch in a humanities and social science education bridges the gap between the engineers coding new products and the people who will use them.
A career is a marathon, not a sprint. Peter Cappelli, the George W. Taylor Professor of Management at The Wharton School and Director of Wharton's Center for Human Resources, argues that pursuing a broad, liberal arts education provides a better career strategy than a major geared to one occupation.
This article discusses factors that lead students -- in all majors -- to the finance and consulting fields, and explores how the skills taught in the humanities and social sciences are a good match for the challenges of the business world.
The president of the University of Michigan and the president of Stanford University, a biochemist and a computer scientist, make the case for an economy that includes humanists and social scientists along with scientists and engineers.
Creativity, critical thinking, flexibility, ability to solve complex problems, teamwork: these are the traits that liberal arts graduates bring to the workplace, and they are the traits that managers and employers need.
This article, written by a college student who came to the United States from Mexico to study, describes the unexpected challenges and benefits of her experience with the liberal arts education she would not have been able to enjoy at home.