Employers want liberal arts educated students
Views 18 | Time to read: 3 minutes | Uploaded: 11 - 14 - 2018 | By: Carly Matthews
With the expansion of technology and the need for more engineers and specialized jobs, the liberal arts education is not valued as much as it should be. While it’s evident that everyone at Westmont knows this - you chose a liberal arts college - majors that don’t seem like they are very useful can pay off, and you don’t need a definite career path attached to your major.
To preface, if your goal is to become an engineer or a doctor, or a hold a profession that needs additional training and education, that’s great. The world needs more doctors and engineers. However, disregarding the values of a liberal arts education and not taking classes in communication and English will essentially hurt you in the long run.
The liberal arts education originated in ancient Greek and Roman times. It emphasized civic duty and bringing the student to their full potential by a rounded curriculum that taught a variety of subjects, but especially rhetoric and logic.
The argument against receiving this type of education is that it doesn’t get you jobs. When you get a degree in computer science, you are directly prepared for a job in a technology firm. When you get a degree in biology, you will almost inevitably go to medical school and become a doctor. In contrast, there is no job that is easily thought of when you get a degree in English or history, except for that of a teacher.
This is not because jobs don’t exist for these degrees, it is because these degrees can be applied to a number of jobs. The skills you learn when you take a communications or anthropology class are valuable to almost every job, barring specializations such as doctor or scientist.
Employers look for people who can think critically, work in a group, are proactive, are happy to learn new things, and who can think independently. While someone can have these traits naturally, these are the characteristics that are actively taught in a liberal arts education. Trade schools, along with other universities, do not emphasize a rounded curriculum, and are instead interested in getting students into the workforce as easily as possible. The classical, wholesome education that liberal arts provides can get you a greater variety of jobs.
Not only does a liberal arts education make you more employable, it pays off later in life. While some liberal arts degree-holders get jobs immediately, 5.2 percent of liberal arts and humanities majors are unemployed between the ages of 21-30. However, according to Forbes, the number goes down as the former students age. By the time they are about 50, they are earning an average of $66,000 a year; around $2,000 more than those with specialized and professional degrees.
The myth that a humanities or liberal arts degree will leave you living with your parents and not having a job is simply untrue. The skills you learn are basic skills that everyone should have to be able to communicate well and think critically, but more importantly these skills get you a job that will, in the long run, get you more money.
So, while a degree in philosophy or art seems useless in getting a job, it is simply because it doesn’t have a specific job attached to it. It is connected to most non-specialized jobs, and has the qualifications for almost all of them. A liberal arts education and the skills learned in it are exactly what employers are looking for.