Employing humanities majors
The romance of the humanities has become a luxury for college students today. Even freshmen and sophomores are stressed over their career choices. The employment rate of humanities majors is half the rate of engineering and science students, so they know that their post-university fates will be different even though they go to the same school.
However, the unemployment problem is not their fault. Students can do their best, but it is useless if no one has told them that the choice between the humanities and the sciences in first year of high school would make such a difference in the end. They focus on getting the best score on the College Scholastic Ability Test, but students are never given a chance to explore what they really want to do. Many high school teachers recommend majors based on students’ grades, not their interests.
Society needs to contemplate the problems faced by humanities majors. Colleges and companies should create a joint program to tell students what qualities companies are looking for in new employees. Job seekers are working hard to build up resumes, but HR managers say they rarely see something they like in a personal statement. Colleges and universities also need to develop internship programs with companies. It should be a duty, not a goal, of educational authorities to restructure the courses they offer based on the industry’s demands. Korean companies that value creativity should hire more humanities majors. Steve Jobs had a summer internship with Hewlett-Packard and a humanities background at Reed College. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was a computer prodigy but majored psychology at Harvard. He first focused only on technology but after studying psychology, he began to take an interest in people’s issues. Companies lacking understanding in humanities are likely to fall behind.
The author is a deputy national news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.
JoongAng Ilbo, Oct. 24, Page 34