Feeds

You're more likely to get a job if you study 'social' sciences, say fuzzy-studies profs

It's OK! No need to work hard at university after all!

SANS - Survey on application security programs

There's great news this week for young persons who'd like to get a good job one day but don't want to do much work at university. A report just out says that actually there's no need to get a tough degree in real science, maths, engineering, medicine, IT or similar - in fact, you don't want one of those. What you want, apparently, is a degree in one of the "social sciences".

With a nice sociable degree in psychology, sociology, politics or similar, it seems, you're actually more likely to be employed a few years after you graduate than if you'd sweated to get a sci/tech/eng/maths (STEM) one. We are told this in a document (pdf) titled What Do Social Science Graduates Do? by professors Cary Cooper (a psychologist) and James Wilsdon (who is prof of "science and democracy", having reached this eminence via a first degree in philosophy and theology, followed by a master's degree in sustainable development and a doctorate in technology policy).

Brilliant news, this. Why toil and graft learning difficult subjects packed with hard maths, when you could spend a pleasant few years having nearly as easy a time as a liberal-arts student, noodling around doing sociology or something, and then stroll into a top job?

And it will be a top job, you won't be forced to be a teacher or similar. Cooper and Wilsdon insist:

The idea that social science graduates work solely as social workers or teachers is shown to be unfounded. What this report shows instead is that employers across many areas of employment, in both the public and private sectors, are keen to recruit social science graduates because they have the skills of analysis and communication that our economy and society needs ...

Unfortunately, the report is about as useful in real life as most other products of the nation's soft-studies departments. Firstly, in order to get their vaguely positive results, the two profs have not only included economics along with the true soft studies - but also law, architecture, town planning and even business studies. They do reluctantly include education, but then they exclude it when making their assertion that studying the soft subjects doesn't mean being doomed to a future in teaching or social work:

After discounting graduates with degrees specifically in education (of whom 78.7% enter employment in the same industry), a smaller proportion of social scientists is employed in education (10.4%) than either STEM (14.3%) or arts-humanities graduates (25.4%). [Our emphasis]

The proportion of social science graduates employed in ‘human health and social work activities’ (12.6%) is less than half that of STEM graduates (34.2%) even after discounting those who studied medicine or dentistry [but not the far more numerous group who studied "subjects allied to medicine", who account for the great bulk of non-medicine/dentistry STEM graduates employed in this field - naughty professors!] ...

If you delve into the data on which the report is based, you find that architecture students tend to become architects (or anyway go into the construction industry), law students tend to become lawyers, business studies students become managers and businessmen. So within the two profs' rather broad definition of "social sciences", it's true, many students go on to get top jobs and are not forced to become teachers and social workers.

But the truth is that if you get a first degree in one of the real soft-studies fields - psychology, sociology, philosophy, politics, geography etc etc - the single likeliest field for you to enter is "human health and social work". And you aren't going to be a doctor or a nurse or a radiographer or something, the way a STEM graduate employed in that area almost certainly will be.

Probably, you're going to be a social worker or something closely related.

The next likeliest area for "social studies" grads is "professional, scientific and technical", which doesn't sound so bad. And it does include some reasonably cushy numbers such as "research and experimental development on social sciences and humanities", the job the two profs have. It also includes architecture and law, though social-studies grads will have to retrain if they want those jobs.

What the psychology, sociology, philosophy etc graduates will be doing in this field is more likely to be "public relations and communication", "advertising", "media representation", "market research" or "environmental consulting".

The next likeliest field for the social-studies grad - almost exactly as likely as managing to scrape a job in market research or PR, in fact?

You guessed it: becoming a teacher.

So actually, while social-studies grads don't work solely as social workers or teachers, it is very common. If you don't want to be either of those things, it would be a good idea to study something else.

Oh, and the "fact" that social-science grads (including lawyers, architects and biz-studies ones alongside the social-studies types) are more likely to be employed at 3 years than STEM grads are?

That's simply because the STEM grads are more likely to be doing postgraduate work, and so don't count as "employed".

We here on the Reg education and employment desk also couldn't help noting that the good profs also recommend this other set of information about what bachelor graduates are doing 6 months after graduation, as opposed to the numbers above which reflect the situation 3 years after. We checked a few subjects.

For instance, far and away the likeliest job for a computer science or IT grad in 2012 is that he or she is now working as an "IT professional" (57.9 per cent).

By contrast the likeliest job category for 2012 graduates in Psychology, Geography or Sociology was ... "retail, catering, waiting and bar staff".

Enough said. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
Reprieve for Weev: Court disowns AT&T hacker's conviction
Appeals court strikes down landmark sentence
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.