Thursday, April 4, 2019

About those "worthless" Humanities degrees?

Well, they are not so "worthless" after all.

A clip:

Take a look at the skills employers say they’re after. LinkedIn’s research on the most sought-after job skills by employers for 2019 found that the three most-wanted “soft skills” were creativity, persuasion and collaboration, while one of the five top “hard skills” was people management. A full 56% of UK employers surveyed said their staff lacked essential teamwork skills and 46% thought it was a problem that their employees struggled with handling feelings, whether theirs or others’. It’s not just UK employers: one 2017 study found that the fastest-growing jobs in the US in the last 30 years have almost all specifically required a high level of social skills.

Or take it directly from two top executives at tech giant Microsoft who wrote recently: "As computers behave more like humans, the social sciences and humanities will become even more important. Languages, art, history, economics, ethics, philosophy, psychology and human development courses can teach critical, philosophical and ethics-based skills that will be instrumental in the development and management of AI solutions.

Worth noting: During our December graduation ceremony, fully half the names read, and a bit over half the names of graduates listed in the program were individuals who pursued degrees in the Humanities (we'll include the Social Sciences under that umbrella given how my university is organized). There are soft skills that can make one potentially flexible for any of a number of opportunities post-graduation. In our culture's obsession with workforce development, the Humanities (broadly defined) often are overlooked in the conversations among policymakers. That's not to denigrate the necessity of preparing students for life after graduation, but to bear in mind that there are lessons and skills acquired within the various Humanities majors that can prove valuable in a variety of fields that, on the surface, have nothing directly to do with the degree they earn. And yet, they may well be the people you want selling your next house or the next time you need orthopedic surgery.

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