By: Bev Upton
English majors aren’t as doomed as everyone thinks.
The demand for English majors is actually at a high right now, and the demand is still increasing.
U of L’s English department chair, Glynis Ridley, agrees that the degree is often underestimated: “We know that many students don’t opt for the major because they believe that English majors can only become writers or teachers, when nothing is further from the truth.”
She explained that the skills developed by these students are exactly what companies today are looking for: how to write, communicate effectively, think clearly and present an argument.
This proves true, as many surveys have shown a demand for these skills in the job market. Recently, a Job Outlook Survey showed that the “ability to verbally communicate with persons inside and outside the organization” was the most important skill to employers. Another survey found that 97% of business executives marked writing skills as very important.
Susan Ryan, English vice-chair, emphasized the assortment of fields that our English graduates pursue. She listed a wide variety of opportunities, from professional masters programs like law school and business school to public relations and advertising campaigns.
2013 seems to be a good year for this academic specialty. Steve Strauss, a bestselling author and small-business expert, declared it to be true: “English majors are my employee of choice.”
As Professor Ridley said, “Those thinking about English as a major should not think of it as limiting, but as something that opens the doors to many, many possibilities.”
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