The Skills Employers Are Looking For in an English Major
- The Social Science Research Council found that “recent college graduates who as seniors scored highest on a standardized test to measure how well they think, reason and write—skills most associated with a liberal arts education—were far more likely to be better off financially than those who scored lowest” (Marklein).
- A study by Millennial Branding of 225 employers reveals "The No. 1 skill that employers are looking for are communication skills and liberal arts students who take classes in writing and speaking" (Dan Schawbel, founder of Millenial Branding, 14 May 2012). The “Student Employment Gap Study” revealed that 98% of employers think communication skills are “important” or “very important” in entry-level hiring decisions (Moss).
- A 2009 study revealed that a majority of employers want to see colleges give greater emphasis to fundamental communication and critical thinking skills.
The ability to communicate effectively, orally and in writing (89%)
Critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills (81%)
The ability to analyze and solve complex problems (75%)
The ability to innovate and be creative (70%)
The ability to locate, organize, and evaluate information from multiple sources (68%) (Hart Research Associates)
- In a recent survey of human resource executives by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, “nearly half the executives said that entry-level workers lacked writing skills, and 27 percent said that they were deficient in critical thinking” (Korkki).
- Silicon Valley employers “reported that oral and written communication skills needed improvement in several areas, including the use of vocabulary and self-expression….Employers said students needed stronger writing skills; more training on professional uses of e-mail; and additional education regarding self-expression, impression management, and avoidance of slang” (Stevens 2).
English majors practice the critical thinking and the oral and written communication skills that employers want to see in college graduates. These skills matter in almost every field and profession, and workers who are good thinkers and communicators have enormous value.
Hart Research Associates. “Raising the Bar: Employers’ Views on College Learning in the Wake of the Economic Downturn.” Association of American Colleges and Universities. Web. www.aacu.org. 16 Nov. 2012.
Korkki, Phyllis. “Young Workers: u nd 2 improve ur writing skills.” The New York Times 26 Aug 2007: BU2. Academic One File. Web. 16 Nov. 2012.
Marklein, Mary Beth. “Liberal Arts Education Lends an Edge in Down Economy.” USA Today 25 Jan. 2012. USAToday.com. Web. 16 Nov. 2012.
Moss, J. Jennings. “Revenge of the Liberal Arts Major.” Upstart Business Journal 14 May 2012. American City Business Journals. Web. 16 Nov. 2012.
Stevens, Betsy. “What Communication Skills Do Employers Want? Silicon Valley Recruiters Respond.” Journal of Employment Counseling 42.1 (2005): 2-9. Academic Search Premier. Web. 16 Nov. 2012.
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