Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris, addressing media and supporters

Don't be a HASS-been, HSC leavers

12 November 2020
The humanities will make you job-ready (just ask Kamala Harris)
If you are a year 12 student with a preference for humanities, don't change it. Invest in a future where you will be sustained by your passion for your work and where your skills will be valued contributions to the world.

In a muddle-headed attempt to influence student enrolment preferences, the so-called Job-Ready Graduate Bill before the federal Parliament increases university student fees from 2021 for most humanities and social sciences (HASS) subjects.

Those fee hikes are designed to tempt year 12 students to switch their HASS preferences to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). But not so fast.

With HSC examinations now finished, smart students will be thinking about their futures. And being smart students, they will use their critical thinking skills to test the dubious proposition that HASS graduates are somehow ill-prepared for the future worlds of work.

They will find a wealth of evidence to demonstrate that HASS graduates are being snapped up as job-ready by employers across a diverse range of sectors that increasingly recognise the deep value of their qualifications.
Prof. Annamarie Jagose, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Smart students will be guided by recent influential reports on the rapidly changing futures of employment in Australia and internationally that emphasise a growing demand for synthesising and evaluative skills, communicative ability, collaborative teamwork, cross-cultural competency, creative decision-making, ethical thinking and social influence – all widely recognised as HASS graduate qualities.

And they will know that more than 65 per cent of the chief executives of Australia’s largest public companies and 44 per cent of world leaders – soon to include Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris – have social science qualifications.
Prof. Annamarie Jagose, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Smart students will acquaint themselves with a recent British Academy report that demonstrates that HASS graduates are more frequently employed than their STEM peers in eight of the 10 fastest-growing employment sectors.

In short, ignoring the cultural-warrior spin, smart students will scan the available information and synthesise it in an overwhelmingly positive argument for HASS skills in the rapidly changing employment environments into which they will graduate in three or four years.

Don’t believe the hype. HASS graduates are job-ready graduates.

Professor Annamarie Jagose is the Dean of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney. This article originally appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald, 11 November 2020.

Banner image: Shutterstock.

Professor Annamarie Jagose

Professor Annamarie Jagose, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Visit Prof Jagose's academic profile

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