Saturday, January 25, 2014

Liberal Arts Graduates Earn a Pretty Good Living

A recent report shows that by their mid-50s liberal arts majors make more money than those who studied in professional and pre-professional fields.  The Association of American Colleges and Universities just released "Liberal Arts Graduates and Employment: Setting the Record Straight."  Here are some of the findings:

  • 4 out of 5 employers want students to study the liberal arts
  • 93% of employers want candidates who can think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems.  This is more important than the undergraduate major
  • Employers want broad knowledge and specific skills
  • The top 15 professions of liberal arts graduates include: teaching, law, legislators, business, social work, sales, clergy, accounting, and marketing.
  • Liberal arts graduates in the humanities and social science have an average salary of $26,271 directly out of college and $66,185 at the age of 56. 
  • Students who major in pre-professional or professional programs have an average salary of $31,183 directly out of college and $64,149 at the age of 56.
  • Liberal arts majors attain advanced degrees at a higher level than students who majored in pre-professional or professional progams
Here is a taste of an article on the report at Inside Higher Ed:

Liberal arts majors may start off slower than others when it comes to the postgraduate career path, but they close much of the salary and unemployment gap over time, a new report shows.
By their mid-50s, liberal arts majors with an advanced or undergraduate degree are on average making more money those who studied in professional and pre-professional fields, and are employed at similar rates. But that’s just one part of the paper’s overall argument that concerns about the value of a liberal arts degree “are unfounded and should be put to rest.”
“That’s a myth out there – that somehow if you major in humanities, you’re doomed to be unemployed for the rest of your life. This suggests otherwise,” said Debra Humphreys, a co-author of the report and vice president for policy and public engagement at the Association of American Colleges and Universities. “That sort of journey to professional success is more of a marathon than a sprint.”