One of the tasks those of us working in the social sciences and humanities have these days is assuring students that they can get good jobs with degrees in liberal arts fields. It’s heartening to see more opinion pieces popping up that support that effort. Recently, for instance, I came across three examples:
- In a Financial Times column the economist John Kay wrote about how a liberal education is now more useful than job-specific skills. He notes, “those who argue that more resources should be devoted to teaching STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) have a point, but not the point they generally make…It is a mistake to focus basic education on job-specific skills that a changing world will render redundant in a few years. The objective should be to equip students to enjoy rewarding employment and fulfilling lives in a future environment whose demands we can neither anticipate nor predict.”
- The Washington Post published an article noting that tech companies are hiring more liberal-arts majors than you think. Brian Fung reports that “liberal arts graduates joined the ranks of tech companies at a faster clip in the past few years than their engineering and computer-science counterparts, according to an analysis by LinkedIn of its own users. And of the recent liberal arts grads the company examined, as many as 2 in 5 now work at an Internet or software company.”
- In the article “The Future of Work: Preparing Students for a Changing World of Work,” University of Maryland-Baltimore County President Freeman A. Hrabowski III discussed the skills developed in studying liberal arts fields: “As employers now routinely ask for T-shaped employees–those with deep technical knowledge and broad business and people skills–postsecondary institutions must now provide students with knowledge in their fields and encourage them to develop a strong work ethic and persistence; an appreciation of the larger contexts of their work; and the ability to work in groups and to market their ideas.”
Let’s hope that these types of articles continue to appear!