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The [earning] power of humanities degrees

Alan Flurry

Fortune Magazine pushes back on the persistent misperception that links humanities degrees with low salaries:

Robert B. Townsend, director of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences Washington, D.C. office, says that humanities majors secure jobs at pretty much the same rate as other people with degrees. “It’s certainly not in line with that picture that gives you the impression that they’re all baristas drowning in debt, and miserable and unhappy,” he says. 

While there may not be an onslaught of demand for 19th century English literature experts, the writing, analysis, comprehension, and critical thinking skills developed in such courses of study are valued in the workplace. PayScale’s data found that some fields with lucrative levels of mid-career median pay hire a high percentage of English and related majors, such as communications director ($83,100 ), proposal manager ($83,000), and content marketing manager ($72,400). 

Studying a foreign language? The demand for bilingual workers doubled between 2010 and 2015, according to a 2017 report by New American Economy. The top languages in demand were Spanish, Arabic, and Chinese. More than one-third of Bank of America’s advertised positions called for bi-lingual workers.

The humanities figure heavily in the civic health of our society. A robust democracy depends on expertise from across the spectrum - from every branch of the sciences, all the arts and every corner of the humanities. It's this symphony of knowledge that provides for our intellectual ballast, so no single part of the equation is more important than the others. We will continue to buttress instruction and scholarship across the liberal arts learning environment, and to support the reality that each of its constituent parts are the well-spring successful and rewarding careers.


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