Arts, humanities and social sciences graduates resilient in economic downturns

Photograph: MD Duran/Unsplash

A new report by the British Academy has found that arts, humanities and social sciences graduates are some of the most employable individuals. The report, entitled ‘Qualified for the Future: Quantifying demand for arts, humanities and social science skills’, explores the employment benefits of studying a degree in these disciplines.

One particularly timely finding is that graduates from these disciplines are just as resilient, and  just as likely to remain employed, as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates during economic downturns. In addition, of the ten fastest growing sectors in the UK economy — such as finance and information and communication – eight employ more graduates from the arts, humanities and social science than other disciplines. In these sectors, jobs are likely to be well-paid.

Student with book in SOAS library
Photograph: SOAS Library/SOAS

Although jobs in, for instance, the finance sector may initially seem dominated by STEM graduates, the skills gained from a degree in the arts, humanities or social sciences are clearly sought after, and graduates from these subjects are seen as highly employable. The report states:

‘[graduates from arts, humanities and social sciences] have skills employers value –
communication, collaboration, research and analysis, independence, creativity and
adaptability – and are able to build flexible careers which may move across a number
of areas of employment while remaining resilient to economic downturns. They are
employed in sectors which underpin the UK economy and are among the fastest growing
– financial, legal and professional services, information and communication, and the
creative industries – as well as in socially valuable roles in public administration.’

With a post-Covid-19 economic downturn in sight, the report is a reassuring one, and one which champions the skills, knowledge and qualities of arts, humanities and social sciences graduates. Read the full report here.

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