Valued Skills

Employers Seek the Skills That Humanities Majors Develop

This section presents the findings of a series of surveys conducted by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) that show employers are looking for recent graduates who have the skills that humanities majors develop through their studies. The surveys also show that employers often find that their hires lack these skills.

This section also includes data specifically on the need for hires with foreign language skills. A report by Shirley J. Daniel, Fujiao Xie, and Ben L. Kedia revealed that executives at U.S. companies viewed foreign language competency and an appreciation of cross-cultural difference as important skills for employees. Data from the Department of Defense, meanwhile, revealed significant shortages in personnel with adequate language skills. AAC&U’s surveys also show that employers regard employees under-prepared in this regard.

The section also aggregates quotations from leaders in business and STEM fields, who make the case that the skills gained through studying the humanities are ones they value in employees.


As with each section of this website, we invite your suggestions. Please share any additional qualitative and quantitative data related to employer needs and the skills acquired by studying the humanities. We are also interested in hearing how you have deployed this data and the broader argument that humanities majors excel on your campus.

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