Thesis Statement: Liberal Arts graduates who possess a wide array of skills have a less difficult time finding long-term employment compared to more applied streams of education. (May Change- I am still hesitant about my topic) A List: Philip Giles, Torben Drewes, and Jon Cowans Abstract: The liberal studies education provides a graduate student with numerous skills and endless employment opportunities. In our continuously changing society and job market, many are struggling with finding employment within their careers.
Research currently states that learning various skills and developing a broad-based skill set is the key to having a successful and long-lasting career. For some the liberal education means a general education in terms of “the classic great books,” as opposed to specialized training for a particular career. For others, it means the subject matter, “the liberal arts” or “the humanities. ” Either way, the liberal arts offers a diverse education that prepares one for life.
Annotated Bibliography: Liberal Arts Degrees and the Labor Market, Philip Giles and Torben Drewes Although more fulfilling salaries for liberal arts careers are promising in the longer term, research says that those of applied majors tend to occupy more job offers and higher salaries at entry level (Short 1). “While both groups received substantial average hourly wages, wage rates for applied programs graduates were about 6% higher for both men and women” (Giles and Drews 29).
Currently, there is a higher demand among employers for new graduates with majors such as engineering, health professions and computer science, however, a lower demand for new graduates with a liberal arts major. It is clear that majority of students are graduating with a technical degree such as business or engineering, however, research shows that graduates with a Humanities degree will develop stronger careers in the future. “Their longer-term career entry and advancement prospects may be equal or superior to those whose undergraduate majors are of immediate interest to employers” (Short 1).
The article states that Humanities and social sciences students acquire different skills than those obtained in more vocationally trained settings (Giles and Drews 32). These Humanities skills, according to the article, earn lower wage rates in entry level positions, however, later in their careers there was higher rates of employment and wages than their applied program counterparts. The reasoning for this, according to Giles and Drew’s article, is it takes longer for liberal arts graduates to figure out what they want to do because the direction they want to go in is not as clear as those of a technical major such as business.
The picture that emerges is one in which individuals graduating from programs in the humanities and social sciences had considerably more difficulty with the school-to-work transition” (Giles and Drews 33). In other words, an engineering major has a more concise and direct education that leads them to a certain career, however those who are liberal arts graduates with a broad-based Humanities education, have a more explorative time finding what career direction to follow.
Of What Use These Liberal Arts, Jon Cowans A recent study says that Arts graduates were highly successful in gaining long-term employment because of their academic breadth and flexibility (Cowans 20). In Jon Cowan’s, Of What Use These Liberal Arts, a 2002 Trent University economics professor published a study called Value Added: Humanities and Social Sciences Degrees on recent university graduates in the job market.
He wrote, “The development of more generic, but valuable, skills may actually give the liberal arts and science graduates a leg up on their more vocational counterparts since such skills are much less likely to be rendered obsolete by technological trade-induced shocks. The ability to switch sectors of employment has value in a rapidly changing economy” (Cowans 21). In other words, liberal arts and science graduates, according to Cowans, have an advantage in the job market because of their broad-based and adaptable skills.
According to the article, it is principally for these skills that the Arts graduates are finding employment. “A better organized mind, capable of inquiring and distinguishing false from true and fact from opinion; a mind enhanced in its ability to write, read and compute” (Cowans 21). The main distinction Cowans makes is that more applied streams of education limit a graduate whereas a liberal studies major has a more diverse educational background to offer an employer. Yes a Liberal Arts Education Can Be Productive, Joseph Short
President of Bradford College, Joseph Short, believes that a strong liberal arts education prepares students to strive for a fulfilling career. According to Short’s, Yes a Liberal Arts Education Can be Productive, an education in the Arts paves more pathways to executive, professional, and leadership positions in society than many vocationally specific undergraduate majors in technical fields (Short 1). Further, a degree in liberal arts develops higher-order intellectual skills such as problem solving, reasoning, and data analysis that allow the Humanities graduate to perform various skills that are affective within a number of careers.
Last, these graduates are highly recommended for entry level and long term occupations in education, communications, journalism, human services, management, government and internal relations (Short 1). Liberal Arts Studies Offer an Edge in Corporate Jobs, Carol Kleiman Similarly, in Carol Kleiman’s article Liberal Arts Studies Offer an Edge in Corporate Jobs, she discusses the negative impact having a technical degree such as business has on a graduate. In the article, John R. Marshal has an engineering degree from Princeton University and an MBA from the University of Virginia but still felt a gap in his education.’
I had too narrow a technical education, and while that helps meet your employer’s immediate needs, you’re not left with any way to navigate your life’” (Kleiman, 1). Consequently, he went back to school for a degree in liberal studies and felt a more broadened view of the world (Kleiman 1. ) Overall, Kleiman’s article explains that any sort of education is worthwhile however, an in-depth educational background in liberal studies allows the strong possibility for an advancing career of upward mobility because of its broad education and endless employment possibilities.
What Does a Liberal Arts Degree Get You in Today’s Job Market, Eisa Nunez According to Eisa Nunez’s What Does a Liberal Arts Degree get you in Today’s Job Market, “in today’s technological world – where knowledge doubles every 18 months and industries are created in less time – requires workers with transferable skills they need to be ready for as many as 11 different jobs in a lifetime” (Nunez 1). “The only education that prepares us for change is a liberal education. In periods of change, narrow specialization condemns us to inflexibility” (Nunez 1).
It is true that 70 to 80 percent of college freshman list the following as their reasons for attending college: earning money, finding job, and preparing for a career (Nunez 1). Rather than concentrating on learning one skill and going out into the workforce, Nunez says that taking time to develop critical thinking, writing, and presentation skills in various areas is necessary to leading a long term successful career in the 21st century. This preoccupation with the short-term is based on an old labor-market model that assumes that a narrow, technical education is the key to success.
However, David Kearns, executive chief officer of Xerox says, “This idea does not work in a modern economy where adaptability is the key” (Nunez 1). College of Liberal Arts Needs a Makeover On the contrary, in College of Liberal Arts Needs a Makeover, the author says that the college major, Liberal Arts is in dire need of a makeover, “a new marketing campaign to promote an updated image” (Frank 1). “It’s a shame that many people believe a liberal arts major has limited job prospects upon graduation” (Frank 1).
Further, the article states that businesses would rather have new hires with specialized technical training to fill entry level positions. “People who can hit the ground running, they say, like engineers, programmers, hotel managers, nurses, lab technicians” (Frank 1). In other words, those fresh out of technical training are prepared to begin working in the career of their choice, whereas Liberal Arts graduates need more training in their job choice. Frank says that because the name Liberal means free or generous, the word free gets mistaken with easy. An engineering student has to master really difficult subjects like physics and calculus.
A liberal arts student takes English and history” (Frank 1) Therefore, subconsciously, people think it can’t be that hard to study English. Interdisciplinary Approach: Advantages and Disadvantages, and the Future Benefits of Interdisciplinary Studies, Casey Jones In Casey Jones article, Interdisciplinary Approach: Advantages and Disadvantages, and the Future Benefits of Interdisciplinary Studies, discusses the current structure of the educational system. She believe that Liberal or interdisciplinary studies focus on the fringes of a field and owers an academic’s reputation in the eyes of his peers and hurts his chances for tenure”(Jones 78).
In other words, the academic system is still very much structured on the concentration of specific majors because the integration of interdisciplinary or Liberal studies, does not fully prepare a student for employment in the real world. The Employable Liberal Arts Major, Rachel Donadio Similarly, Rachel Donadio’s article points out with tuition costs raising and the state of the economy, it is better to learn as many applied skills as possible.
This year at Colgate and New York University, there have been professional training programs instilled which allow students to participate in non-credit courses that offer them specific job training within a field. With the competitive job market, there are a lot of specific skills that young people need as the economy and employment industry continue to diversify. “Colleges say they aren’t abandoning the liberal arts education but rather bring the ideal slightly more in line with the job market reality” (Donadio).
Although this article slightly goes against my thesis statement, I believe it offers a different view on the liberal arts education. Studies Indicate that Liberal Arts Grads are Less Likely to be Recruited for Jobs In Studies Indicate that Liberal Arts Grads are Less Likely to be Recruited for Jobs, The Wall Street Journal, confirms that employment recruiting companies favor top ivy league schools over less reputable schools. In this article, seniors graduating from Mount Holyoke, a liberal arts college, “are much less likely to be recruited from top companies” (The Mount Holyoke News).
Although they are less likely to be recruited, employment after college is not as affected. “The national unemployment rate for college graduates under 25 in 2010 was 8 percent, up from 6. 8 percent in April 2009 and 3. 7 percent in April 2007” (The Mount Holyoke News). Despite the great recession, according to the article, our recent graduate have done well. “Our students have the critical thinking skills, the communication skills, the ability to understand. The ability to communicate across cultures-the things employers really look for” (The Mount Holyoke News).
Courtney from Study Moose