British Academy report highlights skills of arts, humanities and social science graduates

University of Aberdeen Principal Sir Ian Diamond has led on the production of a report highlighting how arts, humanities and social science graduates develop crucial skills that are highly prized by employers.

Researchers from the British Academy identified the core skills of arts, humanities and social science graduates (AHSS) as:

  • Communication and collaboration

  • Research and analysis

  • Independence and adaptability

The report, which is published today, found that these skills were often the same as the qualities in demand from employers.

The report also investigated the destinations of AHSS graduates, and found that their core skills equip them to work in a wide range of jobs, from web design to the civil service, teaching to financial services. 

A series of case studies included within the report illustrates the skills developed by graduates across a range of disciplines. 

The ability of language graduates to master complex grammar is cited as evidence of their strong attention to detail, while social science graduates possess highly developed analytical skills that enable them to interpret complex data and engage critically with evidence. 

Meanwhile, AHSS graduates are credited with developing strong entrepreneurial skills, with performance and creative arts graduates shown to be particularly adept at combining creativity and business acumen.

With the type of jobs likely to change in the future, flexible and adaptable graduates, many of whom have AHSS degrees, were highly valued by employers, even when their degree was unrelated to the business.

Commenting on the publication of the report, Sir Ian said:

 “The question every arts, humanities and social sciences student has heard at least once is ‘what are you going to do with that?’

“Today our research proves that these graduates have the potential to adapt to almost any career in an increasingly globalised and uncertain world.

“Our research has defined for the first time the skills shared by arts, humanities and social sciences graduates, and looks at their careers in almost every sector of our economy, from the booming creative industries to financial services.

“The arts, humanities and social sciences are a strong choice for any prospective student – these subjects create well-rounded and adaptable graduates, equipped with the skills employers demand for the twenty-first century workplace.”