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Many leaders have humanities degree

A high proportion of successful leaders in the UK have a degree in a humanities subject, new research has found.

The study, carried out on behalf of the newly-launched New College of the Humanities (NCH), found around 60% of people at the top of their professions studied arts, broad humanities or social sciences at university.

The survey, which questioned leading individuals across different sectors, including CEOs of FTSE 100 companies, top creative industries and MPs, found that only 15% studied the STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects, which the Government will continue to provide funding to support teaching in English universities.

The study, which highlights the importance of humanities subjects and aims to understand what qualities graduates of humanities disciplines bring to the world of work and to society, looked at more than 800 leaders in their fields and found that the group with the highest proportion of graduates in arts, humanities and social sciences was MPs at 65%.

The group with the smallest proportion of graduates in arts, humanities and social sciences was vice chancellors of Russell Group universities, where just under a third studied the subject compared with two-thirds (65%) from STEM backgrounds.

Meanwhile the sector with the most even distribution of graduates was CEOs of FTSE 100 companies, with around 34% having studied arts, humanities and social sciences subjects and 31% from STEM backgrounds.

Professor AC Grayling, master of NCH, said: "A humanities education is deeply enriching for individuals. But it offers great practical benefit too.

"For service economies in the developed world, a broad educational background is essential. Much of the talent that goes into law, journalism, the civil service, politics, financial services, the creative industries, publishing, education, and much besides is drawn from people who have studied the humanities.

"Our society and economy needs broadly educated people who have gained a wider view of the world and human affairs; of how to think about them, understand them, and apply the lessons thus learned.

"Our fear is that humanities provision is being diminished. It is wrong to think that humanities matter less, or offer fewer career opportunities than science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Many bright young people could benefit enormously from them."


From Belfast Telegraph