Graduate from college with a major in business or computer science and the odds are strong there will be a job waiting. Graduate with a degree in fine arts or graphic design and begin a search for a job that is less likely to be available. The conventional wisdom that a liberal arts education has the most modest value appears to prove itself more and more often.
According to new data from H&R Block, the “most in demand” majors are business (31%), computer and information sciences (24%), engineering (17%) and health professions and clinical sciences (10%). No other majors reach the double digits.
At the other end of the spectrum, based on unemployment rates for recent graduates, the majors are video and photographic arts (unemployment rates for recent graduates 12.9%), fine arts (12.6%), graphic design (11.8%) and philosophy and religious studies (10.8%).
Since unemployment among younger people has hovered at levels that still mirror national jobless rates from during the recession, it is a wonder that students would seek low employment majors at all.
Of course, there is a fallacy in the idea that if all college graduates took degrees in business or computer sciences that jobs for them would be plentiful. At some level, the demand for these jobs gets completely satisfied. At that point, the attractiveness of these majors plunges. No one knows exactly where this tipping point starts.
On the other hand, students who enter college should know, or ought to be told, that for some majors, their four-year effort may not be rewarded, at least if they want to have jobs upon graduation. It is a bit of information they might find useful.
As the American economy becomes increasingly driven by technology and finance, the trend to plentiful jobs in those sectors likely will persist. It is too late for recent graduates to get value from that information. Perhaps people entering college today might be guided toward industries where they might actually find work.