Skills Employers Want

  • Studies show that employers are looking for the types of skills taught in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences: creative and critical thinking, the ability to analyze, and strong oral and written communication skills.

    Employers want the skills taught in the social sciences and humanities:

    Liberal Education graph

    Many  employers are not looking for a specific degree. They want to hire applicants with broad perspectives, analytical abilities, and communication skills. These are precisely the skills taught in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

    College Goals graph

    Critical thinking graph

    Here are some useful studies and articles related to CHSS majors and their post-graduate careers:

    It Takes More than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success:

    A national survey of business and nonprofit leaders by the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems reveals (the following bullets are direct quotations from the report):

    • Nearly all employers surveyed (95 percent) say they give hiring preference to college graduates with skills that will enable them to contribute to innovation in the workplace.
    • 92 percent agree that “innovation is essential” to their organization’s continued success.
    • Nearly all those surveyed (93 percent) say that “a demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than [a candidate’s] undergraduate major.
    • More than 9 in 10 of those surveyed say it is important that those they hire demonstrate ethical judgment and integrity; intercultural skills; and the capacity for continued new learning
    • More than 75 percent of employers say they want more emphasis on 5 key areas including: critical thinking, complex problem-solving, written and oral communication, and applied knowledge in real-world settings
    • Employers endorse several educational practices as potentially helpful in preparing college students for workplace success.  These include practices that require students to a) conduct research and use evidence-based analysis; b) gain in-depth knowledge in the major and analytic, problem solving and communication skills; and c) apply their learning in real-world settings
    • 80 percent of employers agree that, regardless of their major, all college students should acquire broad knowledge in the liberal arts and science

    Business Insider — Eleven Reasons to Major in the Humanities:

    • "The average unemployment rate for new graduates across all of the humanities is 9%, right on par with computer science and math (9.1%) and not too far off all majors combined (7.9%). There's some data missing from the survey, but it doesn't paint nearly as bleak a picture as one might expect. When it comes to underemployment, those who major in the humanities don't stick out as badly as many seem to think. The most underemployed major is actually business, because there are a ton of them and not that many jobs for those without an MBA."
    • "An increasing proportion of the world's jobs, the ones that can't be outsourced overseas, are the ones that require interaction with people. Humanities majors, usually people- and word-friendly, have something of an advantage over many math and engineering majors."

    Why a Humanities/Social Science Degree is Useful in Business

    A student in the Humanities and Social Sciences “acquires skills that are fundamental not only to success in academia, but also in business. The suite of valuable skills includes: Strong analytical skill, exceptional oral and written communication skills, detail-oriented approach, experience presenting research and using technology to do so, skills for working independently, excellent interpersonal and problem-solving skills, an ability to meet deadlines in fast-paced environments, [and] systemic understanding of human institutions.”

    All charts above from  It Takes More than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success, a national survey of business and nonprofit leaders done by the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems.