The stereotype of the philosophy or theater major stuck working as a barista was a punchline that became a cliché. And now, luckily for those liberal arts majors, that unfunny joke is becoming something else: less common.
New research from the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that students who graduated in 2015 with bachelors degrees in liberal arts and the humanities have done better in the job market than their counterparts from a year earlier. Six months after graduation, a greater percentage had landed full-time work and were earning more, to boot.
Computer science was still the most employable major, with about three quarters of new grads landing work within six months of graduation, but students who graduated in 2015 with bachelors degrees in area studies (like anthropology or international relations), languages, English, history and philosophy all saw employment gains of between roughly 1% and 6%, compared to the class of 2014. Only visual and performing arts majors did less well than their peers a year earlier, with employment falling by around 2%.
Even more dramatic than the employment gains for liberal arts grads is the salary increases. Starting salaries for these humanities majors rose by an average of 13%, with increases ranging from 4% for history grads to an impressive 26% for area studies majors.