Last Friday, The Wall Street Journal published a new report, “What’s a Liberal Arts Degree Worth?” The report uses Emsi’s profile analytics (a database of over 100 million profiles that helps us track graduate outcomes) which we originally featured in our 2018 analysis, “Robot Ready: Human+ Skills for the Future of Work.”
Here’s the key takeaway: Liberal arts grads show better (much better) outcomes than they typically get credit for. Not only do these grads land good careers, they also show greater versatility in the job market than STEM majors do. And while they may not earn as much as STEM grads immediately, their earning potential does grow over the course of their careers.
Michelle Weise, chief innovation officer at Strada, also recently discussed the issue in Forbes, “When the Robots Come for Our Jobs, Will They Spare the Liberal Arts Grads?” Weise notes that liberal arts have become a favorite “punching bag” as tuition prices shoot skyward and students stress over choosing a college major that will get them relevant, high-wage careers.
“There’s increasing pressure to cut public funding for liberal arts programs in favor of narrower, career-oriented programs focused on technology and technical training,” Weise writes. “But this debate presents a false choice between the liberal arts and applied learning. It’s not an either/or proposition but both/and. The most valuable workers now and in the future will be those who can combine technical knowledge with human skills” (emphasis added).
Watch Strada’s quick video discussing the value of a liberal arts degree:
If you’d like to talk about these issues, email Rob Sentz at firstname.lastname@example.org.