Foreword to the Report, by Professor Cary Cooper CBE AcSS, Chair, Academy of Social Sciences and Professor James Wilsdon, Chair, Campaign for Social Science
We were particularly pleased to be asked to write the introduction to this report on the careers of social science graduates, which analyses the latest data from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education longitudinal survey (published in August 2013 by the Higher Education Statistics Agency).
Among the facts this report uncovers are:
• At 3.5 years after graduating, the proportion of social science graduates in employment is higher than that of graduates of STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) or arts-humanities.
• A higher proportion of social science graduates are in managerial and senior official roles than graduates of STEM or arts-humanities subjects, at the same point in time.
• A higher proportion of social science graduates are employed in the ‘professional, scientific and technical’ and ‘financial’ industries than STEM or arts-humanities graduates.
The idea that social science graduates work solely as social workers or teachers is shown to be unfounded. What this report shows instead is that employers across many areas of employment, in both the public and private sectors, are keen to recruit social science graduates because they have the skills of analysis and communication that our economy and society needs.
Gosia Slominski, who graduated from Cardiff University with a BSc in Economics with German and is now working as a management trainee at HSBC, puts it well in our case study: “A degree in social science will equip you with a wealth of skills to help you throughout your career, whatever you want to go into,” she says. “The opportunities open to you upon graduation are far reaching and, in my experience, looked upon well by employers across many professions.”
Gosia is right: social science graduates have the skills that employers in all areas of our economy and society need badly. So we in turn must ensure that we maintain our social science capacity because it pays us back many-fold.