New study pinpoints arts, humanities and social science graduates’ skills

A new study has defined for the first time the skills that graduates at University of Leeds develop by studying arts, humanities and social science (AHSS) degrees.

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

  • communication and collaboration;
  • research and analysis;
  • independence and adaptability.

The report found that these skills were often the same as the qualities in demand from employers, which is reflected by our excellent employment figures -  96% of our recent graduates have successfully secured employment or gone on to further study within six months of graduating (latest Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey). 

The British Academy report The Right Skills: Celebrating skills in the arts, humanities and social sciences 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.

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.

Chair of the British Academy project, Professor Sir Ian Diamond FBA FRSE FAcSS 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. 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.”