What About All Those Philosophy Jobs?

Have you ever received a req from a VMS calling for a philosopher, perhaps someone with a knowledge of existentialism?

Probably not, but philosophy is nonetheless among the liberal arts majors that college students graduate with each year. What can such students do about jobs?

“Too often a graduate hears ‘congratulations’ and ‘now what?’” wrote Mary Walshok, dean of the University of California San Diego Extension, in a new report on hot jobs for college grads. “It may take months for the implications of ‘now what’ to sink in — that a degree in the general liberal arts may not be enough to get a good job.”

To help bridge that gap between the job market and a liberal arts degree, the university put together a report on hot jobs that ranked the positions based on employment, growth, pay, typical work environment and a “bridgeability factor.” The bridgeability factor considered whether a college grad could enter the field with just one or two years of further study or reskilling.

The top five jobs included:

  1. Software developers, systems software
  2. Physical therapists and assistants
  3. Software developers, applications
  4. Market research analysts/data miners
  5. Cost estimators

The report lists a total of 20 jobs.

Such a list seems like a good idea. If a staffing firm can’t place a college grad today, maybe they could be referred to this list and placed after they’ve received training or education in one of these skills.


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Staffing Industry Analysts

Hugo Traeger 10/01/2012 02:13 pm

My brother received his degree in Philosophy. He roamed aimlessly for a while. He owned a bar where his philosophy degree came in very handy. He spent some time as a cross country truck driver for which he was woefully unsuited. But he ultimately found himself in social services where he does a great job caring for people and formed his own business that is quite successful.

Staffing Industry Analysts

Andrew Karpie 10/01/2012 11:00 am

Craig, great piece. It is true that many liberal arts educated students have developed unique leveragable skills, which when complemented with even a modest training in more technical skills, can make them employable and valuable in business and other non-liberal-artsy jobs. They are well on their way to becoming what Jim Spohrer at IBM and others call "T-shaped" professionals. See: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/career-transitions/201204/career-success-starts-t

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