Consider the nature of education and work today:
- One in three Australian graduates do not find work in their chosen field.
- The average Australian changes jobs every 3.3 years. That’s roughly 12 job changes in your lifetime and several of those job changes will also be career changes.
- 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been invented yet.
Considering these statistics, what are the chances that your typical degree which focuses on a niche set of technical or vocational skills is going to be relevant to:
- Your first job?
- Imminent career changes?
- The future of work?
Liberal arts degrees produce graduates who can adapt and thrive in an ever-changing world. They are flexible in their work environment and outlook, possess superior communication skills and are capable of reasoned and critical analysis.
A liberal arts education introduces students to a range of subjects they may not have otherwise encountered, allowing for the discovery of new interests and the pursuit of previously ignored avenues. This gives students the opportunity to reflect on what they really wish to pursue in life whilst gaining invaluable skills and knowledge before heading into the workforce. A typical liberal arts graduate will complete further studies to obtain the technical skills they need for a particular profession. In this way, they can build on their foundational degree, specialising as and when needed rather than investing considerable time and money on what may end up being a relatively short-lived career.
Additionally, as more and more people pursue tertiary study, an undergraduate degree is no longer something that will set you apart from other job applicants. By nature of its rarity in Australia and when combined with other studies, having a liberal arts degree on your resume will make you stand out from your peers.
Top Careers for Liberal Arts Graduates
According to Rice University in the United States
|Government||Marketing and Sales||Research|
|Human Resources||Medicine and Healthcare||Sports Management/Recreation|
|Investment Banking||Non-profit Management||Technical Writing|
Typical careers based on a liberal arts degree in Australia are in communications and media, advertising and public relations, teaching (when combined with a postgraduate teaching qualification), legal services (when combined with a law qualification), politics, government and administrative work, social services, research, policy writing and evangelisation/faith-based work.
Some Well-Known Liberal Arts Graduates
- John Paul ll, Pontiff, Philosophy and Theology
- Kevin Rudd, Former Prime Minister of Australia, History and Languages, Australian National University
- John Anderson, Former Leader of the National Party and Deputy PM, B Arts and M Arts, University of Sydney
- Al Gore, Climate Change campaigner, Religion and Philosophy, Harvard College
- Geraldine Brooks, Pulitzer Prize winning author, B Arts, Sydney University
- Martin Luther King, Reformer, Theology, Morehouse College
- Bob Carr, ex-Premier of NSW, B Arts (Hons) University of New South Wales
- Jana Wendt, Journalist, Philosophy and Languages, University of Melbourne
- Charles Merrill, Merrill Lynch and Company, Amherst College
- Goh Chok Tong, ex-Prime Minister of Singapore, Williams College
- Edson Spence, Chairman, Honeywell, Williams College
- Edward Prescott, Nobel Laureate (2005), Mathematics, Swathmore College
- Jerome Kohlberg, Billionaire, Founder, Kohlberg, Kravis and Roberts, Swathmore Colege
- Mary Schroeder, Chief Judge, US Court of Appeal, Swathmore College
- Lisa Kudrow, Actress, Vasser College
- Geraldine Langbourne, CEO Oxygen Media, Vasser College
- Barbara Cassini, Leader, London Olympic Bid 2012, Holyoake College
- Jonathan Gay, Creator, Flash Software, Bowdoin College
- Sally Dundan, VP of Finance, JP Morgan, Holyoake College
One-third of companies on the Fortune 500 have a current or past CEO with a liberal arts degree.