The value of a liberal education

Employers can only gain by hiring liberal education graduates.

Daily Editorial Board

We often hear about the lack of preparedness college graduates suffer from in the real world of corporate employment. And with the painfully slow economic recovery, employers want to be sure of the investment they are making in new hires. Many companies have been reluctant to hire the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed college grad, not because they doubt their enthusiasm but because they are dismayed with their lack of hard, technical skills and management capabilities. Gone are the days of workplace mentorship; in today’s job market, if you don’t have the skills coming off the bench, you will not get played, and you definitely won’t get paid.

This puts liberal education students at a disadvantage; according to a New York Times article published Nov. 10, CEOs are less likely to give liberal education degree-holders an interview than someone who fits their technical or analytical needs alone. But a broad education helps develop intuition in students that can be incredibly valuable in management positions. Being able to think critically in a variety of workplace scenarios, think of creative ways to increase productivity and read the mood of consumers are skills that should not be underestimated by employers — and they’re real and tangible skills that liberal arts students possess.

Systems designers and statistical analysts will retain their invaluable seat at the corporate offering table; the essentiality of their roles as number crunchers and market readers will not diminish with business growth and globalization. But the unique talents and fresh perspectives that a graduate with a broad liberal education can sell to employers in the job market are currently overlooked, and it’s a valuable investment lost on both ends.