Jobs, Jobs, and More Jobs

As we move forward in our college careers, it’s inevitable to think about what the future holds for us. Luckily, those who are seeking jobs immediately following graduation, the picture is looking better than four years ago and according to Larry Katz, things are looking even better for liberal arts college grads. In an article written by Nicholas Kristof, he states the following:

“A broad liberal arts education is a key pathway to success in the 21st-century economy,” says Lawrence Katz, a labor economist at Harvard. Katz says that the economic return to pure technical skills has flattened, and the highest return now goes to those who combine soft skills — excellence at communicating and working with people — with technical skills.

“So I think a humanities major who also did a lot of computer science, economics, psychology, or other sciences can be quite valuable and have great career flexibility,” Katz said. “But you need both, in my view, to maximize your potential. And an economics major or computer science major or biology or engineering or physics major who takes serious courses in the humanities and history also will be a much more valuable scientist, financial professional, economist, or entrepreneur.”

It seems that employers are looking for people who are multi-faceted in skill rather than those traditionally trained in one technical skill — they need an employee that can do it all. The thinking is that those who are educated within a wide array of skills can better make all encompassing decisions within firms by taking in all of their learning. From an employee standpoint, it also allows them to have more career flexibility and have them tackle the job market in more than one way.

Boy, I hope these guys are right.


3 thoughts on “Jobs, Jobs, and More Jobs

  1. srgrif16

    I hope Katz is correct as well, and I believe he is. After speaking with a lot of Holy Cross alums who work in the real estate industry, one of the common things I’ve heard from all of them is that when they were coming out of Holy Cross having a liberal arts background made it difficult to get an entry-level job because they were competing against students from specialized real estate programs. However, they invariably told me that once they landed their first job they stood out for their ability to see the whole picture of what was going on instead of just the minute details. This is why so many Holy Cross alums have been successful in real estate despite the fact that we don’t have a specialized program. The story is the same in many other industries as well. The fact that liberal arts students have proven themselves again and again over time seems to have influenced the preferences of employers. The unique, sometimes intangible, human capital developed through a liberal arts education – manifested in our abilities to read, write, and think critically and analytically – has big payoffs above and beyond what you can get from a specialized program that merely programs its students to go out and execute their tasks like robots. I know I’m biased, but I still have high hopes for our career outlooks.

  2. krraym16

    This is a sweet post because it takes a shot at the specialization examples we saw in principle classes. It always seemed better to specialize to gain maximum productivity in any field. Seems there has been a bit of a shift where employees should be alot more versatile. Its pretty cool how the liberal arts education makes us such a valuable option to our future employers

  3. Victor Matheson

    At the risk of using a cliche let me tell you that Holy Cross doesn’t do a great job preparing you for your first job, but we do an awesome job preparing you for job 2 through 20.


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