British Academy report identifies valuable skills in arts and humanities graduates

British Academy skills report

A landmark study by the British Academy has found that graduates of art, humanities and social sciences degrees gain particular skills that allow them to thrive in a wide range of careers.

The report is titled The Right Skills: Celebrating skills in the arts, humanities and social sciences and was chaired by Professor Sir Ian Diamond. It found that students in these subject areas develop a core set of skills that are highly transferable and often in demand by employers. These are:

  • Communication
  • Working with others
  • Designing research and collecting evidence
  • Analysing
  • Decision making
  • Independence 
  • Problem solving
  • Adaptability and creativity 

The report, which is available to download in full, aims to provoke debate about the value of these skills to the individual, to society and to the economy. It argues that, as highly-skilled jobs become increasingly essential to the UK's success in the labour market, demand will continue to grow for graduates with these skills and the ability to deploy them in different sectors.

Sir Diamond said of the report: "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.

"Our research has defined for the first time the skills shared by arts, humanities and social sciences (AHSS) graduates, and looks at their careers in almost every sector of our economy, from the booming creative industries to financial services.

"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."