50% of Arts graduates feel their degree is irrelevant

Elsa McEvoy

50% of Arts graduates feel their degree is irrelevant to their degree

Half of Arts graduates feel their course is relevant to their current employment according to the Higher Education Authority.

A new report published by the HEA surveying graduates of the class of 2016 revealed that 50 per cent of Arts and Humanity graduates found their course ‘relevant or most irrelevant’ to their current employment.

These were the highest number dissatisfied with their qualification followed closely by Social Sciences, Journalism and Information graduates, of which 46 per cent found their qualification to be irrelevant to their jobs.

DCU’s Humanities and Social Sciences Representative Craig McHugh said that despite these figures, that employers are no longer just looking for STEM graduates but shifting their focus on STEAM, incorporating Arts graduates.

“It was originally the perception that big tech companies only needed graduates from Stem subjects but now there’s a growing need for people with Arts degrees,” he said.

McHugh went on to talk about how students in the BA Joint Honours programme “don’t feel appreciated” and said, “something needs to be done about the perception of Arts Students”.

He explained that this devaluing of Arts courses doesn’t stem from a college level but that it is a societal perception that has to be changed.

“The reason we respect doctors so much is because they spent a lot of time getting their degree and they’re held up high in society but who says we shouldn’t respect teachers in the same regard,” he said.

“They were at one stage one of the most respected professions in the country but for some reason, in the last couple of years, that seems to have deteriorated and I just don’t know why that is.”

The HEA report titled ‘What Do Graduates Do?’ focuses on the class of 2016 and also revealed that Arts graduates are the lowest earners, of which 15% start at €13,000 a year where as 38% of Health and Welfare graduates start earning at €29,000 a year.

This leaves current Art students and those thinking about studying Arts wondering whether or not their degree is worth doing.