In May, Missouri Western State University announced major cuts in response to a historic budget deficit. The public university not only laid off 30% of its teachers but also eliminated the main subjects of history, political science, economics, English, philosophy, and sociology. The skills acquired through training in the liberal arts are systematically among the skills most in demand for the future.
As higher education faces new challenges in the 21st century, more and more universities are responding by reducing the areas of specialization in the liberal arts.
The number of registrations has also dropped for many liberal arts degrees. Philosophy degrees fell 21% between 2010 and 2016, while English degrees fell 19%, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. During the same period, the social sciences and history decreased by 9%, while the degrees in humanities and natural sciences decreased by 7% overall.
Despite these declines, a recent report found that 80% of employers want all students to study the humanities and sciences. In addition, skills acquired through training in the liberal arts are systematically among the skills most in demand for the future.
Clearly, training in the liberal arts has value in today’s job market. But is it really worth it to learn the skills you will learn from studying the liberal arts?
What skills can a humanities degree teach you?
Recently, 92% of managers said that American workers lacked the skills to succeed in their jobs. However, the skills gap is not just about technical knowledge: almost half of the managers believe that employees need softer skills such as critical thinking and communication. While an employer can teach difficult skills, it is much more difficult to train someone in general skills.
This skill gap is bad news for employers, but good news for liberal arts students, as these skills are exactly what emphasizes teaching the liberal arts.
Fine arts training develops strong communication skills, both written and oral.
For example, training in liberal arts develops strong communication skills, both written and oral. Students learn to provide convincing arguments supported by evidence and to share their ideas with different groups. A humanities degree also fosters creativity and generally promotes important skills such as research, analytical thinking, and creative problem-solving.
Many industries are looking for the same skills in applicants. In fact, Udemy ranked communication, creativity, and critical thinking as one of the top 10 most requested general skills in his 2020 report on workplace learning trends.
Although a professional specialty like accounting or engineering can provide difficult and useful skills, these technical skills can quickly become obsolete. Conversely, the general skills of a liberal arts degree can take decades.
What are your options for a degree in the humanities?
Education in the liberal arts prepares graduates for careers in education, the nonprofit sector, government, and professional services. The main subjects of the liberal arts also often work in the areas of public relations, marketing, and advertising, where strong communication skills are required.
According to a recent report by Emsi and the Strada Institute for the Future of Work, employers want “human” skills from liberal arts training such as communication, leadership, and problem-solving. The survey found that 82% of the main subjects in the liberal arts were employed, earning an average salary of $55,000.
Diploma in human sciences
Many liberal arts students continue their studies at the university level; In fact, 40% of liberal arts majors graduate. In this way, they increase their average salary by more than $ 20,000 a year.
Careers in liberal arts such as political scientists, economists, and sociologists usually require at least a master’s degree.