English Matters

English Majors and the Job Market

The findings aren’t surprising, actually.  According to an article in The Toronto Star,  March 15, 2013, graduates from the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine) do have an easier time finding work immediately after the degree.  But students from liberal arts programs like English Studies also fare well in the post-degree job market.   Their training in the critical arts – the “ability to read, write, research, critique, and argue a case” – are exactly the skills employers look for in business and industry.  There’s a persistent need for people with advanced skills in “writing, speaking, analyzing, and problem-solving,” people capable of working across multiple systems of organization, people with an ability to navigate cultural differences.   “Degrees in areas such as English, philosophy, history, and linguistics,” says the report, “typically provide the ‘soft skills'” the job market requires.  Whatever one thinks of calling English Studies a training in the “soft skills,” the article usefully locates some of the recent research that provides evidence for the obvious:   our programs are useful, rational, and socially necessary.



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