Professional Placement & Success
School of Liberal Arts
Getting a Job, Making a Difference, Making a Life.
Studies are showing that Liberal arts graduates are in high demand on the job market, and that liberal arts degrees and modern technology go hand in hand. A focus on the humanities, social sciences, and/or creative and performing arts develops critical and creative thinkers that major companies/ businesses are eager to hire— because in a rapidly accelerating digital world, STEM jobs can be substituted with artificial intelligence, but the arts cannot be replaced.
Liberal Arts After the Degree
The New York Times. Although STEM majors may benefit from higher wages in the early years following graduation from college, liberal arts majors typically catch up by the time that they hit the middle of their careers. One major reason is that the STEM careers require skillsets that are always changing. The skills one learns during one's undergraduate career become obselete down the road as they have to learn new skills to meet the demands of the ever-changing job market. Another reason, in combination with the reason above, is that liberal arts majors gain many "soft skills" that STEM majors do not have the opportunity to perfect in the undergraduate setting. These skills help liberal arts majors adapt more swiftly as their careers progress and the job market changes.
Inc.com. “A massive Google project to crunch tons of HR data to find the most important skills for success at the company surprised everyone by determining that tech skills mattered the least and soft skills the most.” It is very possible that in the near future, it is soft skills and an understanding of real humans that will be most valuable in the job market. As jobs become increasingly automated, companies will have to have employees who are creative and can qualitatively understand the relationships between humans and technology. Companies will be confronted with questions that are not so cut and dry, questions that require value judgements a machine cannot make.
Rochester Beacon. So many issues in the future may not be able to be solved by technology alone. Where technology falls short, the world will need real humans to solve real human-centered problems, problems that are solved by thinkers and creators. A student of the liberal arts may be the best equipped to solve problems technology cannot.
Harvard Business Review. “A student’s undergraduate experience, and how well the experience advances critical learning outcomes (knowledge of human cultures and the physical and natural world, intellectual and practical skills, personal and social responsibility, integrative and applied learning), is what matters most, with 80% of employers agreeing that all students need a strong foundation in the liberal arts and sciences.” Nobody can predict what the future of work will look like. It is suggested that soft skills are the most translatable skills that can carry over to various different work positions and environments. Studying in the liberal arts can potentially be one of the best ways to prepare for career trajectories in multiple fields, which will become an increasingly valuable asset in an unpredictable job market.
CNBC. “Liberal arts graduates bring a depth and breadth of knowledge from across the humanities and social sciences that complement the hard skills of engineers and data scientists.” While all of this technology of the future may positively revolutionize the we live, we need liberal arts graduates, many of whom are out-of-the-box thinkers, learners, creators, and problem-solvers. These individuals will identify human-centered problems and solutions brought on by increased technology-human interaction. Liberal arts, paired with digital skills, equip individuals with the ability to think outside of the box and to think critically, things machines cannot do.
Inside Higher Ed. Studies suggest one’s undergraduate major rarely leads to a clearly defined career path. Regardless of your major, and even more so if you are a liberal arts major, one’s career path may change courses multiple times in the early years following graduation. This means that the skills liberal arts majors are gaining in their undergrad careers are actually valued in multiple, non-liberal arts, fields of work, especially in sales and business-related jobs. The only issue now is making sure undergraduate students are aware of the fact that skills learned in the liberal arts are in demand, valuable, and translatable.
Inc.com. Studies show that if you are not inclined to a major in STEM and if your heart tells you to pursue the liberal arts, then choosing a major in the liberal arts may not be as bad as an investment as nightmare anecdotes suggest. A liberal arts degree helps one build a strong foundation of critical thinking skills which are valued across the job market. Further, although liberal arts degrees may have lower initial starting salaries STEM majors early on, the gap shrinks and may even disappear over time. So, if you are inclined to the humanities and arts, go for it. There is not enough solid evidence to suggest that it is not a worthwhile investment.
The Washington Post. Studies show that we, as a society, are in far greater need for people with good communication skills than people with STEM-specific technical skills. LinkedIn's CEO urges educators of all levels of education, from K-12 to higher education, to focus on critical reasoning, creative problem solving, collaboration, and basic digital fluency in order to develop faster, smarter, and more efficient workers.
Harvard Graduate School of Education. Studies show that while STEM majors are considered the most successful, other fields of study can make just as big of an impact.
The Washington Post. It turns out that, despite popular myths, Philosophy majors can do just about anything, and graduates in philosophy inhabit Wall Street corner offices, roam the oak-paneled halls of the Supreme Court and reign over boardrooms in Silicon Valley.
Inside Higher Ed. Study links certain traits of undergraduate education to success in life: meaningful interaction with professors, studying a variety of fields outside the major and having classroom talks that go to issues of ethics and life.
The Michigan Daily. Former Twitter CEO Talks Importance of Liberal Arts: U of Michigan liberal arts alumnus Dick Costolo explains,“A broad liberal arts degree, and deep immersion in the humanities is actually vital to developing our very best leaders and in fact without that education, none of you would develop the habits of mind, and frameworks for creative synthesis and lateral thinking, that really make the very best leaders in the world."
The Atlantic. Sure, by preparing themselves for 21st-century jobs, broadly educated graduates can reduce fears about life after college. The Atlantic. But as empowered citizens, they can also work to transform an economy and polity now hell-bent on reproducing privilege and poverty.
The Chronicle of Higher Education. "Employers really value soft skills that are the bedrock of a liberal-arts education."
The Atlantic. Their degrees may help them secure entry-level jobs, but to advance in their careers, they’ll need much more than technical skills.
Nassau Community College AAUP Executive Committee. If you base higher education funding on statistics for the first job out of college, you are depriving publicly educated college students of a shot at prosperity. You degrade the dreams of millions of students. Another lesson: You demean and discredit democracy itself.
The Wall Street Journal. Liberal-arts majors often trail their peers in terms of salary early on, but the divide tends to narrow or even disappear as careers progress.
The Wall Street Journal. Employment and starting salaries have risen sharply for Humanities grads, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Daily Good. 'I personally think there's going to be a greater demand in 10 years for liberal arts majors than there were for programming majors and maybe even engineering,' Cuban said."
The Corrigan Literary Review. “Majoring in English prepares you, broadly speaking, for life, including a wide range of possible careers. There are trade-offs with either choice. If you do major in English, you will want to know what the job and career opportunities and obstacles are and how to prepare for them.”
The Chronicle of Higher Education. The teacher-scholar model embodied at liberal arts colleges enables students to develop the skills (“The Six Cs”) most important to success in a more automated future.
Payscale. Despite the focus on STEM degrees, liberal arts majors can end up earning salaries comparable to those of STEM grads, according to PayScale's latest College Salary Report. See the EAB article based on PayScale’s findings: The 15 Majors that Earn the Highest Salaries
The Education Advisory Board. Of the top 10 highest paying majors, 6 were non-STEM and were primarily social sciences or arts.
The Chronicle of Higher Education. "There is something that the defenders of the humanities (and, more broadly, the liberal arts) want you to know: Sure, graduates who majored in the arts, philosophy, religion, or literature might make less than someone who majored in a professional program — at least initially. But they’re loving work and loving life — and that, the advocates have argued, is a good start."
"a study being released today by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences -- based on data from the U.S. Census and other government sources, plus Gallup polling of workers nationwide -- challenges the myth of the underemployed, unhappy humanities graduate."
Inside Higher Ed. Read about the statistics behind employment of students from colleges and universities, and what executives and managers really think about student readiness after college.
Tech & Liberal Arts Majors
If you have a liberal arts degree, you might be wondering what kind of career options you have in the technology sector. Technology is a dynamic and diverse field that offers many opportunities for people with different skills, interests, and backgrounds. In this article, we will explore some of the best career paths for liberal arts majors with an interest in technology, and how you can leverage your education and experience to succeed in them.
The Washington Post. From analyzing its own data on project teams, Google has learned that it needs more than “technologists” to be effective. It also needs those with strength in the habits of thought and interaction they are most likely to acquire through a liberal arts education.
Fast Company. Three women share how their liberal arts degrees helped them get their jobs at Microsoft … and how studies in literature, language, and culture prepared them to work in artificial intelligence (AI).
The New York Times. A review of two recent (2017) books on the marketability of the liberal arts: You Can Do Anything: The Surprising Power of a “Useless” Liberal Arts Education, by George Anders, and A Practical Education: Why Liberal Arts Majors Make Great Employees, by Randall Stross.
Saint Mary's College of California. Prospective English majors should know that there are a lot of things you can do with the degree and as a number of SMC alums have found, an English B.A. can even pave the way to coveted, well-compensated jobs in the technology sector.
Forbes Magazine. "Software companies are discovering that liberal arts thinking makes them stronger."
The Wall Street Journal. WSJ Small Business Expert David Kalt says his experience has proven a liberal arts education produces great programmers.
The Chronicle of Higher Education. For STEM majors, as much as for other future professionals, a broad background in the humanities is likely to give them a tremendous advantage in their career. Being able to write effectively and creatively – to tell a story effectively to frame their work and its meaning-- is crucial.
The Chronicle of Higher Education. Eboo Patel explains that while robots may soon perform many complex tasks currently done by human professionals, they are unlikely to be able to fulfill the kinds of roles for which the liberal arts best prepare graduates.
The Washington Post. Recent graduates who land high salaries aren't impervious if their job is characterized by repetitive tasks and decisions. Jobs requiring creativity and/or understanding of human behavior, and low on routine, are least prone to automation.
The Chronicle of Higher Education. Our vitality in the arts and humanities contributes directly to our national innovation edge, even in the technical world of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Fast Company. "The truly irreplaceable jobs—not just of the future but of the present—are the roles that intermingle arts and science. My employees with humanities backgrounds regularly show they’re willing to learn new skills and try new things."
Study International "...with automation promising to replace human hands doing repetitive tasks and data analysis, it is likely that jobs created will value human skills over memory recall and straight knowledge."
TEDX. Entrepreneur Eric Berridge explains why major tech companies should expand beyond STEM hires and bring the creativity of the humanities to the technical workplace.
Minnesota Private Colleges. Statistics show that tech companies value soft skills above others.