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Humanities and Social Science Career Opportunities

Using Census Bureau data, the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project analyzed lifetime earnings for each discipline’s top 10% of moneymakers. It found that computer science’s stars rang up lifetime earnings of at least $3.2 million. Nice work, but not as impressive as philosophy majors’ $3.46 million or history majors’ $3.75 million.

Consider the executive leadership team at Seattle’s Zillow Group Inc. The real-estate data firm’s chief executive, Spencer Rascoff, chose a government and economics concentration at Harvard University. Chief Financial Officer Kathleen Philips studied political science at the University of California, Berkeley. Chief economist, Stan Humphries, earned a bachelor of arts in interdisciplinary studies from North Carolina’s Davidson College. ...
“College shouldn’t prepare you for your first job, but for the rest of your life,” says John Kroger, president of Reed College in Oregon, the liberal-arts school that famously served as a starting point for Steve Jobs. Although Mr. Jobs dropped out of Reed in the early 1970s, the Apple Inc. founder often credited the school with stretching his horizons in areas such as calligraphy, which later influenced Apple’s design ethos. ...
When asked to define the résumé traits that matter most, however, the NACE-surveyed employers rated technical skills 10th. Four of the top five traits were hallmarks of a traditional liberal-arts education: teamwork, clear writing, problem-solving aptitude and strong oral communications. Mindful of those longer-term needs, some employers end up hiring humanities and social-sciences graduates, even if such majors aren’t explicitly singled out when recruiting.

“It’s easier to hire people who can write—and teach them how to read financial statements—rather than hire accountants in hopes of teaching them to be strong writers,” says Liz Kirschner, head of talent acquisition at Morningstar Inc., a Chicago investment-research firm. ...
Alice Harra, associate dean of students at Reed, says recent graduates of the college are landing hundreds of jobs with tech companies that value a liberal-arts ethos. Others have created startups such as Urban Airship, Puppet Inc. and Inspiration Software, she says.
- George Anders, Good News Liberal-Arts Majors: Your Peers Probably Won’t Outearn You Forever, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 11, 2016





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