Liberal Arts Graduates and Employment

Liberal Arts Graduates coverThe National Center for Higher Education Management Systems and the Association of American Colleges and Universities released a report yesterday that provides data on employment outcomes of liberal arts graduates.

The report, Liberal Arts Graduates and Employment: Setting the Record Straight, compared salary and employment data of liberal arts majors with that of science, math, and engineering graduates and professional and pre-professional graduates.

The findings come at a time when a traditional liberal arts education is seen by some as a luxury and perhaps not the best path to a well-paying job:

“Recent attacks on the liberal arts by ill-informed commentators and policy makers have painted a misleading picture of the value of the liberal arts to individuals and our communities. As the findings in this report demonstrate, majoring in a liberal arts field can and does lead to successful and remunerative careers in a wide array of professions.” — Carol Geary Schneider, president AACU.

The study found that employers want workers with both broad knowledge and specific skills — four out of five employers agree that all students should have broad knowledge in liberal arts and sciences. 

The report also found salary outcomes should be measured over an entire career. Earnings of liberal arts graduates, especially those who attain advanced degrees, can outpace professional and pre-professional graduates over several decades.