Career Trends To Consider In Evaluating College Majors

While previous generations may have headed off to college to explore options and expand their minds, today's high school graduates are much more focused and pragmatic. Savvy high school students are more likely than ever to want to link college studies to actual jobs upon graduation. Schools have picked up on this trend (and current political threats to defund Humanities programs are adding to the urgency), and bastions of liberal arts such as Dartmouth, Mount Holyoke and Denison are all adding programming that includes a focus on data and skills. For students focused on the "outcome" of college, a liberal arts school with such expanded programming can offer the best of both worlds. "'A set of technical skills can double the number of jobs for which a typical liberal arts major is qualified", said Matthew Sigelman, chief executive of Burning Glass, a Boston-based labor market analytics firm. "Those skills can also add about to $6,000 to average salaries.'" 

Recent grads can expect another robust year of hiring opportunities, but another WSJ.com article reveals that today's grads don't have the skills that companies are looking for. So at the same time that colleges are shifting to address the needs of applicants, students might want to consider shifting some of their college major plans to make themselves more marketable to those doing the hiring. We don't encourage anyone choosing a major or field of study just because it tops a list of growing jobs (not everyone wants to be an engineer!) but taking note of the trends in hiring (including the skills employers find most lacking in applicants) can be useful as students explore options and identify individual passions and interests.