Good news for all those poor saps out there that dropped tens of thousands of dollars on an arts degree that so far has only got them a job as a “barista”. (Is it just coincidence that a pleb who makes coffee morphed into a “respectable profession” right around the time that employers began realizing that having a degree meant you were nothing but trouble? Surely not.)
Anyhoo, it turns out that you’ve been saved!
You would think with such a headline that this was going to be a piece on how awesome arts graduates are, wouldn’t you. But curiously, it’s not.
Surveys of the key skills employers seek in graduates continue to place so-called “soft skills” – like verbal and written communication skills, the ability to work collaboratively in teams and to influence others – in the top ten. But a 2016 report found that other skills – such as critical thinking, problem-solving, attention to detail, and writing – top the list of missing skills among job-seekers.
Sounds pretty standard to me. Based on the headline, what we’re going to see next is how arts degrees tick all these boxes and then some. But then a strange thing happened in little old alternative-reality article land.
Developing these skills in young people will require not only a shift in subject matter, but also a change in how students are taught. Only one in ten Australian teachers have recently participated in professional development to help students develop generic, transferable skills for future work.
Wait a second? If you need to change how everything is taught that must mean that anyone who already has a degree possesses none of these required skills. Reading through there is exactly no mention of arts graduates being at the forefront of these desired traits. But at the end is a curious addendum. The article originally appeared at The Conversation. So I clicked over. It turns out the original headline was slightly different:
One of these things is not like the other.
Update: this morning an article appeared in my linkedin feed with the suspiciously similar title, Dear liberal arts grads: Your skills are essential — and employers need to realize it. It’s a plague!