10 Degrees Hiring Managers Don’t want to see

May 27, 2012

A college degree used to be an almost guaranteed ticket to a good paying job and a middle class lifestyle. That’s not the case anymore. Many college graduates are finding themselves stuck in the unemployment line. This is happening across the board, but it’s so common for some majors that those degrees are practically worthless. If you’re just starting college, avoid these majors if you want to find a job.

Liberal arts and the humanities were once a standard major. Now they are the keys to indebtedness and unemployment. Recent graduate with these majors have an unemployment rate of 9.4 percent. Social science and recreation majors are not faring much better; their unemployment rate is above eight percent.

The really worthless degrees are in arts and architecture. The arts may improve your mind, but with an unemployment rate of 11.1 percent, they won’t find you a job. Architecture graduates are even worse off; nearly 14 percent of them are unemployed. You are much better off obtaining a degree in cybersecurity or another rapidly growing field.

Source: Best Degrees

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  • Modest Money May 27, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Most of those degrees obviously would have very little potential. I’m sure most people would be smart enough to pursue that kind of degree unless it is something they are very passionate about. It would be quite frustrating to spend a bunch of time and money on a degree where it is just too tough to find work.

    • Marissa May 28, 2012 at 2:16 am

      You have to remember that you’re talking about 17-18 making life decisions. Most people don’t know what they want for dinner let alone decide on a career for the rest of their lives.

  • Lance@MoneyLife&More May 27, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Interesting infographic. If you’re going to college you really need to pick an applicable major. Pick something you can deal with but not necessarily something you love if what you love won’t get you a job.

    • Marissa May 28, 2012 at 2:15 am

      Exactly. I wanted to study history but realized that I hated libraries and teaching so that door closed itself.

  • david May 27, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    Architecture is a puzzling ones. Architects are highly trained engineers. I wonder if this is just a reflection of the current environment where new construction (aside from roads and bridges) has dropped off considerably.

    Maybe jobs for architects will improve in the future?

    • Marissa May 28, 2012 at 2:14 am

      Lets hope so. I have a few friends in the field.

  • Broke Professionals May 27, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    Yeah, I have two pointless degrees – an undergrad in the humanities (history, but in my defense, I ALWAYS planned to go to grad school… undergrad was just four years of exploring my educational options) and a masters in broadcast journalism (totally pointless, since most of the old cronies I worked with hadn’t even graduated from COLLEGE, much less grad school). I want to get my Ph.D… in theology… but if I did, it WOULD be to teach at the collegiate level…. so………….

    • Marissa May 28, 2012 at 2:13 am

      Getting your Ph.D would be a great idea. I’m not sure what the prospects for collegiate teachers are right now. It might make you over qualified for most roles.

  • Michelle May 27, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    Very interesting! I don’t know if all of these are correct though. If you were to become a social worker, wouldn’t they want you to have a social work degree? The salary does suck for social workers though. My friend has a degree and she is paid $10 an hour to deal with rehab kids.

    • Marissa May 28, 2012 at 2:12 am

      Wow. Yeah, I think Social work is one of those careers where you dont do it for the money.

  • Jen @ Master the Art of Saving May 27, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    Puppetry? I had no clue there was a degree to play with puppets. Isn’t having any degree still better than no degree? I never finished getting mine, but it’s not like I’m looking for a job either. 🙂

    • Marissa May 28, 2012 at 2:11 am

      I think the point was that spending a degree in something thats a bit useless is a waste of money.

  • shoppingtosaving May 27, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    ^Ouch that sucks! 🙁

    I have a business degree. I switched over from engineering. At the time I thought business majors were slackers…but we’re just way more fun than the engineering kids! 🙂

    • Marissa May 28, 2012 at 2:11 am

      I switched from Econ to Biology. Biology kids are not fun… except me!

  • Justin @ The Family Finances May 28, 2012 at 3:52 am

    In college I was always surprised at the number of student majoring in things like philosophy and liberal studies. I went super practical and majored in accounting. I landed a job during my senior year and have never had trouble with job prospects.

  • Serendipity May 28, 2012 at 2:22 am

    Wow. I always think that any degree has the potential to be somewhat useful but this info graphic has changed my mind a bit. I do believe that some degrees are a lot more useful than others for sure.

    • Marissa May 28, 2012 at 3:04 am

      Me too. I don’t understand why some degrees, tho.

  • Vincent Turner (@vinaeco) May 28, 2012 at 2:24 am

    I’ve come across plenty of college students who think the ‘degree’ is the key and basically take whatever seems easiest to be able to get the degree itself with less regard for the choice of major or units. Perhaps therefore, there is a degree of bias in the stats as those who are simply there to get the degree are doing units/majors to make up the numbers and when they get out into the workforce with the same attitude don’t get employed as much.

    As an employer (small business to be fair!) I look for aptitude and attitude. Unless you’re doing something that requires specific technical skills then the degree is somewhat of a bonus, in fact it’s really only counting for something if its from one of the harder to get into colleges and the indicator is that you got in, not specifically that you got through it.

    • Marissa May 28, 2012 at 3:04 am

      Me too. To me all a degree shows is that you can get thru an additional 4 years of school.

  • Deena Dollars May 28, 2012 at 4:48 am

    The groupings in this infographic are too coarse to be useful. Social sciences can mean economics or it can mean anthropology. You can use an econ degree for almost anything, and an anthropology degree for pretty much one thing (teaching/researching at the college level in anthropology). The academic job market is abysmal right now, so the anthropologists’ unemployment rate is probably dragging everyone in that category down.

    There are two theories of human capital formation that are different for different fields – an undergrad degree in some majors actually teaches you concrete skills (engineering, for example), whereas an undergrad degree in many other things is a signal to employers that another institution thought you were good enough to be let in and to graduate through. That said, this has to be highly dependent on where you go to school. At the extreme, I’m sure the unemployment rate for art history majors from Harvard is okay (because of the signaling value of a Harvard degree), and the unemployment rate for business majors from not-very-good-school X is abysmal. This graphic doesn’t show that.

    I would want to look at more detailed career categories by geographic region, which is pretty important. If you study casino management (shout out to Rambo, Serendipity’s fiance!!!), you probably want to live in Las Vegas, or the unemployment rate for that major is probably approximately 100%. If you study software engineering, you probably want to live in Silicon Valley. Or, even more general professions like teaching can vary quite a bit by where you live and the age composition of the teaching force in that place (meaning, whether there are even job openings for you).

    My overall point with all this is I think the story is more nuanced.

    Finally, my very nerdy quibble with this infographic is that it makes small differences look DRAMATIC for effect. It indicates at the top that the overall unemployment rate for recent grads is 9%. The unemployment rate for humanities and social sciences is 9.4% and it is in BRIGHT RED, making us think social science majors are living in cardboard boxes. Now, those are overlapping categories so it’s hard to say, but I bet there’s not even a statistically significant difference between 9% and 9.4%, depending on how large the sample is. I’d much rather see a table of unemployment numbers and interpret the trends myself than have the supposed trends stuffed down my throat, but then again I’ve read way too much Edward Tufte.

    Sorry for the long, rant-y comment. I’m a huge nerd for this crap. 🙂 Thanks for the interesting discussion-starter!

  • Deena Dollars May 28, 2012 at 4:54 am

    Errr, sorry, it’s humanities and liberal arts that 9.4 percent! They even put social sciences in red when the unemployment rate is LESS than overall! Grrrrrrr.

  • investlike1percent May 28, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    your network is your networth. doesnt matter the major, matters who you know. i say study what you like. there are certain professions which are technical that you cant break into without the major. everything else, its about getting your foot in the door.

  • Daisy @ Add Vodka May 29, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    The thing is, lots of graduates don’t want jobs. At school, I’m taking my final course which is set up like a practicum. We had to go around the group and introduce ourselves and discuss what we wanted to do after graduation, and at least half of my 40 person class said they wanted to travel first and then get a job, OR, they said they were going to pursue a different field all together – or they just didn’t want to work after graduation.

    Then again, I’m a business major and I don’t know what it’s like in other disciplines 🙂

  • Penny Stock Blog June 13, 2012 at 4:14 am

    I was recently talking to someone I know at work about higher education’ she has sixty thousand dollars of student loan debt. I asked here if see thought college should be free and here response was no that it would be a bad idea because than it would lose much of its high regard if it were free. I tend to agree. I don’t know a lot about higher education. I taught myself to type on the computer. Although I believe that some education beyond high school is useful. I believe that society places to much weight on the four year degree. She commented that here husband was working at a retail store and the management was impressed enough with his job performance that they enrolled him in a management training program when they checked their personal records they found that he did not have a college degree so they unenrolled him and at that point he left the company. The Idea was that higher education is the great equalizer as far as socioeconomics go but in many cases today it has become the great unequalizer. Another guy I know used to work for ford motor he told me that he applied for a job as a department head at the plant but he was rejected not because of a lack of ability he was qualified they told him that he did possess the skills and ability to handle the job but he lacked a college degree. We have now created a class structure based on these varying degrees’ high school’ associate’ bachelors’ masters’ or doctorate. Now we have a situation where because of the inflation in higher education costs the likelihood of someone at the middle of the totem pole as far as family income goes has less ability to qualify for and meet the financial qualifications of higher education unless their willing to go deeply into debt or unless their very bright which would mean they could qualify for a scholarship’ what about everybody else. What if the standard for getting that better job becomes not the bachelors but the masters degree this will only increase the inequality even more leaving only the rich and affluent to take advanage of higher education and qualify for all the better jobs. All this system of things does is create ever more inequality than we already have. This is anything but a positive development.

  • Ray Right June 27, 2012 at 5:36 am

    Have to agree with the fact but still there are people who earn these degrees and earn through their talent they might not need a job to earn their live hood