How Do Humanities Degrees Thrive on Job Market?

15 July, 2021 12:00 AM printer

How Do Humanities Degrees Thrive on Job Market?

What is the connection between a humanities degree and a post-graduation job? Are there any skills that humanities students offer to business-oriented environments? What is the value of a humanities degree in the workforce?

The societal perception of once glorified humanities majors has gradually declined. The influx of information and technology which values speed and instant gratification often seems to undervalue the disciplines of humanities.

The need for humanities recruitments in our businesses and organizations is now hardly articulated. Fortunately, in this COVID19 pandemic, due to many dramatic changes in our culture, society and economy, we have countless opportunities to discuss the value of humanities anew. 

Humanities degree equips graduates with skills such as communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, empathy, commonly known as soft skills, are all highly valued in the modern workplace. While most science and engineering programs aim to turn graduates into experts in their respective fields with little attention to human skills, humanities cultivate soft skills to ensure a productive, collaborative and healthy work environment. That is crucial for any organization to thrive in this increasingly competitive market.

Our society seemingly has a perception of Humanities that can only lead to a career in education. However, the value of a humanities degree is gradually increasing in the world of business. A recent survey of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences indicates that only 12% of the humanities graduates build careers in academia, the majority of the graduates, 75 %, on the other hand, develop a career in the world of business in management-related occupations.

One immense skill humanities bestow on their graduates is the ability to think independently and solve problems in a wide range of adverse situations. When the specialization based single-tracked thinkers cannot find any meaningful solution in an unfamiliar circumstance, independent thinkers who have emotional intelligence can solve a problem even in strange states.

The modern world of business is full of surprises. No business environment is immune to undesired actions, situations or competitions. Emotional intelligence, an ability to think independently, and problem-solving ability allow employees to utilize available resources to successfully deal with a difficulty in a productive manner keeping the company’s integrity intact.

The study of humanities allows pupils to critically analyze and evaluate the aspects of society, the role of the human being inside it, and thus creates effective communicators. Students of humanities understand people and gradually develop an ability to analyze the human mind, human thoughts and feelings, and the diverse ways human beings connect in different social settings.

They understand that communication is not just about what you say or what you hear. This deep sense of connection makes pupils skilled in making the circle of communication complete to reach the goals either in the short-term or long-term. They even can infer the absence of information to communicate constructively within and outside the organization. Humanities graduates hence reduce communication errors, improve organizational practices and help to reach organizational goals.

Now the question may arise, can anyone thrive in business without a degree in humanities? The answer is an absolute yes. People who have done graduations in business can also demonstrate some soft skills in their daily operations. However, should we confuse how well a person performs in a particular situation with how well a person understands the depths and the complexities of self and the world around him?

When it comes to sustainable development, how do we evaluate the role of employees in organizations? Are they only assessed based on production-oriented activities? Or, employees are human resources who can equally add value to the organizational behaviour, culture and other areas of human engagements.

How well enlightened are the executives of enterprises about the potentialities of the Humanities graduates? Do they exhibit enough interests to utilize the possibilities of humanities graduates in their business? Or, are they after speed and instant gratifications? In a world where everything is driven by money if the business directors do not acknowledge the prospects of humanities graduates, how the educatees of humanities will be motivated to hone their skills?

On the other hand, are the departments of humanities of both public and private universities preparing graduates to thrive on the twenty-first-century career opportunities or operating to prepare graduates for jobs that are built on monthly salaries only?

Do we have enough research to make these points clear? Certainly not. We need more research to understand if the humanities programs are doing enough to develop scholars who can adapt the materialistic world of information and technology to a human-friendly world.

What is the primary goal of higher education? Is it only to contribute to the production-based economy? UN’s sustainable development goals promote an idea of education meaningful in diverse ways and add values to lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, culture, and politics for sustainable development in the world.

Are the studies of science and business alone can ensure a peaceful and non-violent society where cultural diversity is appreciated? The answer is by all means no. We need the values of humanities to build a fully functional and sustainable community.

As the Covid 19 pandemic has swept the world, humanities majors have their appeal to understand the human mind, the pain of losses, needs and desires, adaptations and psychological challenges. Numerous things have been changed in society, pushing millions into extreme poverty.

The business world has been battling to adapt to economic slow-down and strange arrangements. Since the inception of Covid 19 surges, the pitiful lives of low-income earners have become a matter of great concern. People are falling out of the middle class into the lower. Pandemic hence has a far-reaching economic impact on us. How can a developing country like Bangladesh thrive post- pandemic?

The answer is yet unknown to all of us. As human beings, we are interdependent, and we share families, societies and communities. The pandemic has reminded us how the sorrows and hopes of one person can affect many others in the other part of our globe. The current crisis has taught us how important it is to stand beside each other. If human beings want to thrive and cultivate peace of mind, we must think about what we can do for others. In doing so, the role of humanities is incomparable.

Hence, policymakers and business leaders should pay heed to the possibilities of humanities to reach the pinnacle of success and make both society and business sustainable.

Humanities scholars, on the other hand, should strike out their relationship with the business world. They should communicate the range and scope of their fields to policymakers and business leaders.  

Pairing humanities and business graduates can better operate for a workforce and lead both an enterprise and a county to sustainable growth.


Md. Kawsar Uddin is an assistant professor of English at IUBAT- International University of Business Agriculture and Technology. [email protected]