With a degree in humanities and social sciences decreases Over the past 10 years, humanities college programs should consider sharing new U.S. Census Bureau data and industry data to educate prospective students about the program’s strong economic benefits.
Until recently, information available to the public on the salaries of humanities and industrial graduates was relatively limited. Campus alumni surveys collected a sample of employment outcomes, not all alumni outcomes. Responses to the survey were also given independently, which contributes to potential data bias. And the Department of Education’s College Performance Map reports the salaries of only those students who take federal loans, with the exception of a significant portion of graduates.
But now individual colleges and entire university systems in 17 states have joined the new U.S. Census Bureau. Results after middle employment (PSEO) initiative. PSEO links the records of participating college graduates to the records of the Census Bureau Jobs Bureau, which cover 96 percent of employment in the United States. The new data combination makes available the average income of graduates in the specialty, one, five and 10 years after graduation (depending on how far the records of graduates are given back). The new data connection also makes available graduates of the industries in which they work across the country.
In addition to showing reasonable salary outcomes, industry placements can be used to recruit students to the humanities. When hiring for a particular profession, such as management, growth is projected, which has a tendency to increase correlated more students choose a major in the field most explicitly related to this profession, in this case business. Prospective students may be surprised to see that census data show compelling evidence that the humanities majors also divert graduates to high-rise professions.
For example, Indiana College of Social Sciences graduates, shown in the following chart, enter the finance and insurance industry more often than any other field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects to increase the number of jobs of financial managers by 17.3 percent between 2020 and 2030. The second most frequent industry is “health and social care”. Vacancies for managers of health and medical services are expected to grow by 32.5 percent from 2020 to 2030. The Faculty of Social Sciences at this institution can share the frequent work of graduates in finance and healthcare – industries with a high demand for workers – to interest students in their specialty.
PSEO census data help to start the process of career connections even when recruiting students. Translating career outcomes into early conversations is important because 65 percent of students report that their colleges have not provided sufficient support in connecting education with significant careers, according to a nationwide The Strada College Pulse poll from 2020. The feeling of less support in forming these connections is correlated with the view that a degree is not worth the cost. Providing students with the most reliable data on employment in the humanities at the beginning of their interactions in college helps to establish the value of the degree.
Recently, I had the pleasure of presenting PSEO data to the Admissions Office staff at a conference of admissions consultants at Indiana College. Later that day, an admissions officer from a private Indiana college approached and said the prospective student had simply asked for his average starting salary for the major. Earlier, the receptionist asked the chairman of the department. The admissions officer can now use PSEO data to send the average starting salary without delay directly to the requesting student. Given the capabilities of the Census Bureau data, the figure is the most accurate of those available.
Colleges can use this data to take further steps to help students understand the return on investment they can expect from humanities education. The picture of wages and industry can be made even brighter by including average debt. For example, the Independent Colleges of Indiana, a member association of the state’s 29 private nonprofit colleges, combined PSEO salary data with data on federal College Scorecard student loans by major. GradFacts tool to help students and families with college and career planning.
Colleges and universities should join the Census PSEO initiative to show the economic value of their degrees to prospective students.