What Are The Top Degrees In Demand – We keep hearing that the way to get ahead is with an engineering or computer science degree. Studying business can also be a good idea. But what degree would make you most desirable to employers? A study released this month by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), a Bethlehem, PA nonprofit that links college career placement offices with employers, reveals which majors its members are seeking among the class of 2016.
NACE received responses to questionnaires sent from early August to mid-September from 201 companies, asking about their plans to hire people who will be graduating from college and graduate school at the end of this academic year. Respondents are mostly large companies such as Aetna, Chevron, DuPont, Procter & Gamble and Macy’s.
What Are The Top Degrees In Demand
So, what majors do employers want most? NACE cracks out the top 11 degrees for those earning bachelor’s degrees and the top 10 degrees for masters and doctoral graduates. Unsurprisingly, STEM degrees score the highest, with accounting topping the undergraduate list, computer science scoring the No. 1 for masters students and electrical engineering for those with doctoral degrees.
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We’ve compiled three charts below showing which specific degrees are most in demand and the number of respondents saying they would hire in each discipline.
Social sciences and humanities majors are not high on the list of majors. But they need not despair. Some other charts in the report show that 40 of 200 employers plan to hire communications majors, 33 will hire economics majors, 14 plan to hire psychology graduates and eight expect to hire English language and literature majors. Social work is at the bottom of the social sciences list, with only seven employers planning to hire from the field and “area & gender studies” is towards the bottom of the humanities list with only one employer seeking the major.
But no social services or government agency answered the questionnaire. These types of organizations are great targets for social work graduates. Gender studies majors should register with non-profit organizations dealing with domestic violence or organizations geared towards women’s empowerment such as Emily’s List. As I’ve written about in previous stories, a resume that can show that you’ve played leadership roles in women’s organizations on campus, such as the Bruins Feminists for Equality at UCLA, will make you attractive to women’s rights groups.
Two sections I highly recommend for humanities majors to consider: George Anders’ July cover story, The ‘Useless’ Liberal Arts Degree That’s Been the Hottest Ticket in Technology, which details how fast-growing companies like Slack Technologies are eager to hire people people with theater and philosophy degrees who can write clearly and think creatively (the billion-dollar Slack unicorn didn’t fill out the NACE survey). See also contributor Jeffrey Dorfman’s story, Surprise: Humanities Degrees Provide Great Return On Investment, who analyzed data from Payscale that revealed that philosophy majors, near the bottom of the NACE list with only three employers planning to recruit from the field, raised $658, 900 “lifetime income” is above the salary they could expect if they didn’t go to college and majored in the field.
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That said, if you want the surest bet on getting a job with a big company once you finish undergraduate or graduate school, stick to the majors in the three charts above. The big picture: Choosing a career path is arguably the biggest decision a young person will face at that point in their life, and most don’t make it right away. Of those who do choose a college, roughly four out of five end up changing their major at least once, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Even students who stick with it and cross the finish line can regret their choice in hindsight.
According to a recent ZipRecruiter survey of more than 1,500 college graduates currently looking for work, nearly half – 44 percent – said they regretted their primary college choice.
Journalism is the most regrettable college major. Sociology and liberal arts/general studies is in second place followed by degrees in communications and education. Political science, biology and English language/literature also make the top 10 list.
Not everyone hates their top choice. Among those surveyed, the happiest graduates were those with degrees in computer and information science, criminology, engineering, and nursing. Most with degrees in business administration/management, finance, psychology and human resources say they would choose the same major if they had to do so again.
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It should come as no surprise that there is a correlation between feelings about a degree and current job prospects and salaries. Computer science graduates, for example, are in high demand across a variety of industries with a median annual salary north of $100,000.
ZipRecruiter found that among communications graduates, those who are happy with their field earn 1.6 times more than those who choose other degrees. Similarly, graduates who are satisfied with a marketing management/research degree earn three times more than those who are unsatisfied.
Of course, college isn’t for everyone. Many people jump into the workforce straight out of high school, and many become very successful. Taking this route eliminates the possibility of being saddled with student loan debt and gives colleagues who are still studying a head start. We keep hearing that the way to get ahead is with an engineering or computer science degree. Studying business can also be a good idea. But what degree would make you most desirable to employers? Now a recently released study from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), a Bethlehem, PA nonprofit that connects college career placement offices with employers, reveals which majors its members are seeking among the class of 2015.
NACE received responses to questionnaires sent from mid-August to early October from 260 companies and organizations, asking about their plans to hire people who will be graduating from colleges and graduate schools in 2015. Respondents were mostly large companies such as Cargill, Chevron, Kimberly-Clark, Procter & Gamble and Schlumberger, but the group also includes small nonprofits such as The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
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So, what majors do employers want most? NACE cracked the top 10 degrees for those earning bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees. We’ve compiled three charts below showing which specific degrees are most in demand and the number of respondents saying they would hire in each discipline. For undergraduate and masters graduates, finance, accounting and computer science occupy the top three positions. For those at the doctoral level, the top three degrees are all in engineering—chemical, electrical, and computer engineering.
But social sciences and humanities majors need not despair. Another chart in the report shows that 26 employers plan to hire psychology majors, 22 will hire political science/international relations majors and 19 seek sociology majors. In the humanities, 19 employers want a major in English language and literature, 17 are seeking a history major and 14 would hire a foreign language and literature major. Social work ranks lowest for social sciences majors, with only seven employers, and gender studies at the bottom for humanities majors, with only 10. But keep in mind that you can tailor your job search to your chosen field. Social work majors can apply to social service agencies and government positions while gender studies majors can find work with non-profit organizations that deal with domestic violence or organizations that promote women’s leadership such as Scouts.
However, if you are looking to start in a field where there is excess demand and high salaries, and you have a talent or interest in finance or computer science, many doors will be open to you, as you will see from the chart below. Written by Jeff Ostrowski Written by Jeff Ostrowski Arrow Right Lead author, Jeff Ostrowski Home Loans covers the mortgage and housing market. Before joining in 2000, he spent more than 20 years writing about real estate, business, economics and politics. Connect with Jeff Ostrowski on Twitter Twitter Connect with Jeff Ostrowski on LinkedIn Linkedin Jeff Ostrowski
Edited by Chelsea Wing Edited by Chelsea WingArrow Right The Chelsea student loan editor has been on board since early 2020. She is invested in helping students deal with high tuition fees and breaking down the complexities of student loans. Connect with Chelsea Wing on LinkedIn LinkedIn Chelsea Wing
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