The Job Market for Humanities Majors

The most recent (in 2013, when this article was originally posted) reliable statistics suggest that a major in the Humanities is as competitive as most other fields in the job market. As reported in The Atlantic (click on the excerpt to go the full article):

That’s according to the most recent survey of the college graduate labor market by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce. As of 2010-2011, the most recent year with available data, recent humanities and liberal arts majors had 9 percent unemployment. That’s right about on par with students in computer and math fields (9.1 percent), psychology and social work (8.8 percent), and the social sciences (10.3 percent). And it’s just a bit above the average across all majors of 7.9 percent.

Remember that 2010-2011 was still in the midst of the Great Recession, so the unemployment rate is still higher than anyone would like, but 9 percent unemployment is far different from much of how the media reports on the job market for humanities majors (which often seem to infer that unemployment is English is more like 91 percent than 9 percent). The media often exaggerates slight differences. It is true, according to this survey, that liberal arts majors do worse than the average of all majors, so that the a liberal arts major as a 91 percent chance of being employed—as compared to the 92.1 percent chance that is the statistical average of all majors.  However, the difference between the employment of liberal arts majors compared to all majors is slight.

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