Why won’t anyone employ your graduates?

Dirk Moses has an interesting essay over at the ABC. This paragraph in particular jumped out at me:

If anything undermines Western civilization at Australian universities it is the declining enrolments in the Bachelor of Arts. This is a global trend, but local factors are significant causes. The government’s threat of $100,000 degrees frightened students and parents, understandably wary about accumulating debts in economically uncertain times, while Australian business – another bulwark of conservatism – prefers to hire accounting and economic graduates, unlike in the UK and the United States. I have lost count of the number of university Open Day conversations with parents who press me about the career prospects of their 17-year old children. Unconvinced by my pitch about the value of the humanities, they drag off the youth of today from the History/Ancient History and Classics booth over to the Accounting one. Don’t blame political correctness for these decisions. Blame the precariousness induced by the globalized economy championed by News Corp and Education Minister Simon Birmingham.

Now I’m always happy to blame the government for all ills. Yet I’m unconvinced in this instance.  How is it that UK and US employers employ Arts graduates in those countries where students debt is a serious issue compared to Australia?

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45 Responses to Why won’t anyone employ your graduates?

  1. Other than McDonalds, Hungry Jacks, supermarkets, Their ABC and SBS, who employs arts graduates?

  2. Shy Ted

    Could it be that Arts graduates look like someone just painted them? While drunk. And high. And designed to scare off the customers?

  3. Makka

    Don’t blame political correctness for these decisions. Blame the precariousness induced by the globalized economy championed by News Corp and Education Minister Simon Birmingham.

    Could it be that prospective grads are wising up to the fact that The Yarts have been taken over by empty headed leftards rendering the degrees largely worthless to prospective employers? You do need a job to pay off that HECS debt yanno

  4. H B Bear

    Someone get Dick a mirror.

  5. David Brewer

    How is it that UK and US employers employ Arts graduates in those countries where students debt is a serious issue compared to Australia?

    They don’t. As usual it’s crap. Arts graduates do poorly on the US and UK job markets too.

    The rest of Moses’ article is also BS, full of straw men and avoiding the real issue of the ideological nonsense being peddled in most arts courses these days.

  6. H B Bear

    Dirk. Dick, Dirk whatever.

  7. Tim Neilson

    If anything undermines Western civilization at Australian universities it is the declining enrolments in the Bachelor of Arts.

    This is, of course, complete bullshit.
    The IPA has published extensive information about the anti-Western civilisation skewing of Australia’s universities. The fewer BA students under the current curricula, the better for Australian society.

    The real problem in relation to employment is qualification inflation. We have too many universities and produce far too many graduates. It’s simple supply and demand. Decades ago a BA was comparatively uncommon, and gave its holder an edge in the job market over a mere high school graduate. That’s been eroded by a bloated tertiary sector in which people of below average academic ability waste 3 or more years getting a bachelor’s degree (often in some pseudo-discipline invented within the last few decades by “Arts” faculties). Naturally with increased competition, people look for the next edge, which is to go for a course which at least looks like it gives the employer something more than generalised “Arts” courses are thought to.

    It’s largely the fault of the Dawkins “reforms”. If the “Dawkins universities” were still teaching students useful skills, there wouldn’t be an oversupply problem for the comparatively few self-selected academic types who did a BA.

  8. Frank

    Dirk is a recidivist fuckwit with a phd in genocide studies from Berkley if I remember correctly. Last came to prominence when he suggested something off colour about Kieth Windshuttle and sodomy when they were facing off over the culture wars and aboriginal history.

    Dirk by name perhaps, but by nature definitely not the sharpest tool in the drawer.

  9. Speedbox

    A ‘one size fits all’ Arts degree falls short unless you are specifically looking at a career in health caring, some media, sociology but even then, you will likely need additional studies.

    The variety of careers today is staggering and most require some ‘basic principles’ education beforehand at Uni. As an employer and/or someone who has dealth with many graduates, I understand that a graduate knows (relatively) bugger all when they leave Uni but they have a basic understanding of the field and that is the foundation upon which I can build their knowledge.

    Few companies, or even Government departments, will employ a graduate who has no Uni training directly relevant to the role (without additional supporting tier 2 studies). An Arts degree, by itself, will be unlikely to cut it.

  10. Roberto

    At my organisation we don’t employ Arts graduates because they have nothing to offer us.

  11. Speedbox

    The real problem in relation to employment is qualification inflation.

    Yes. My daughter is currently at Uni and doing a double degree. Not because she particularly wants to, but because it will give her an advantage in gaining employment. Her (undeniably logical if mercenary) thought was that as a female with two relevant degrees in her chosen field, she will often have an advantage over the male applicants with double degrees for the same role and, over other females with only one relevant degree.

  12. Billie

    Inflated sense of entitlement seems to be a factor in Australia.

    In the US you don’t have our skewed industrial system and people knuckle down and work hard because you can be sacked easily.

    Here employers are leery of hiring someone who may or may not cut it, why take the risk? If you want to sack someone here you run the risk of unfair dismissal action and the process is the punishment as well as costing a fortune.

  13. Egor

    “Why won’t anyone employ your graduates?”
    Because they’re dickheads.

  14. 2dogs

    Why do an arts degree? For something like, say, engineering or medicine, the qualification is essential for a job later in the field.

    No job requires an arts degree. Everything you learn in an arts degree you can learn elsewhere more cheaply.

  15. Entropy

    Frank
    #2730757, posted on June 7, 2018 at 5:13 pm
    Dirk is a recidivist fuckwit with a phd in genocide studies from Berkley if I remember correctly. Last came to prominence when he suggested something off colour about Kieth Windshuttle and sodomy when they were facing off over the culture wars and aboriginal history.

    This education and subsequent valuable and relevant work experience guaranteed, of course, lifetime access to platforms such as Their ABC.

  16. Bruce of Newcastle

    If anything undermines Western civilization at Australian universities it is the declining enrolments in the Bachelor of Arts.

    LOL!

    Unconvinced by my pitch about the value of the humanities, they drag off the youth of today from the History/Ancient History and Classics booth over to the Accounting one.

    LOLOLOL!

    Don’t blame political correctness for these decisions.

    Oh my aching sides!

    Everyone in Australia knows that if you do History it will be leftist fantasy and aboriginal black armband mythology with a solid helping of QWERTY propaganda. Classics will be Marx vs Lenin vs Trotsky. The graduates of such faculties will be unemployable outside the CFMMEU, the Greens and teaching. Artz in Australia is so captured by the far left that the country would be better off if all Artz faculties were abolished immediately.

    As a STEM grad I’m sad to see my field starting to follow Artz down into obscurantist fantasyland too.

  17. H B Bear

    Undergraduate degrees used to provide a rough sorting function before young people joined the workforce and actually began to pick up skills. Now they don’t even do that.

  18. Entropy

    A BSc is bad enough these days. Graduates are puff full of certainty. So certain you can see the denial in their eyes when the first thing you say at their induction is they must always remember “You know nothing Jon Snow”*

    An arts degree? They have nothing relevant to offer.

    *the look in their eye could also be “who is this loser old fart and his lame pop culture references?” Which is the the same thing really.

  19. Makka

    “Why won’t anyone employ your graduates?”
    Because they’re dickheads.

    You’re the dickhead Egor.

  20. Senile Old Guy

    As a STEM grad I’m sad to see my field starting to follow Artz down into obscurantist fantasyland too.

    Alas, yes.

  21. Dave in Marybrook

    There was a good headline in the Oz from, I think, Henry Ergas saying “Literacy and Numeracy will not improve until school becomes difficult again.” Or something like that.
    Same goes. An Australian Arts degree is not valued by an employer, not only because the bar to entry has been kicked to splinters as a sacrifice to visual identity, and the content studied has been wittered away to useless fripperies and deflowered by aggressive cultural relativism.

  22. Tel

    Employers actively seek people who will knuckle down and fit in with the company.

    Once it becomes understood that Universities are teaching students to be whiny troublemakers it’s game over. That backlash is going to come real fast.

  23. Percy Popinjay

    Australian business – another bulwark of conservatism

    Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!

  24. stackja

    Sydney University Arts Degree curriculum

    The Bachelor of Arts degree will hone your critical thinking skills to help you become an independent thinker, able to form and articulate judgements based on argument and evidence. Whether you wish to learn a new language, study the great works of literature or uncover archaeological remains, our courses will stretch and challenge you to think differently.

    Whether you want to learn a new language or study a new culture, explore great books, ideas or minds, discover the past, analyse the present or consider the shape of the world’s future, the Bachelor of Arts will expand your horizons and challenge you to think outside the box.

  25. John Constantine

    It is alright, the State will give jobs all the arts graduates, and those it doesn’t directly employ will be given non-specific Revolutionary welfare grants, so they can protest and work to overthrow racist settler culture and save the planet.

    Comrades.

  26. Rockdoctor

    Bruce of Newcastle
    #2730837, posted on June 7, 2018 at 6:32 pm

    I agree Bruce but SOG makes a good point and I see the results coming out of Uni being still at the coal face in the industry (pun not intended). Technically proficient and in some areas more so than myself but loaded up with ideological baggage that was never a part of my training. Those Politically motivated generally did as extra curricular activities and were less common in Science & Engineering Faculties. I don’t know about others but I was more interested in beer & rugby outside contact/study hours.

    As for Arts Faculties, I could take the pure Arts Majors like English Literacy, History etc even with the far left wing bias but these fields have exploded to include what I term as “Mickey Mouse” Degrees in things like gender studies, aboriginal studies etc that have only one source of potential employment. Government.

    Governments whinge about declining STEM graduates but do nothing about Universities abandoning Science & Engineering for these “Mickey Mouse” Degrees probably because the returns are much better financially. Where I did my Degree has for a long time not offered Geology, I know the amount of Uni’s offering this course in a resource rich country shrinks each year. Guess it is easier to import already trained people…

  27. Entropy

    Even thirty years ago arts wa a joke. One of my friends was studying fine arts. Six contact hours a week, compared with our 32.
    I never forget the semester for one subject she did not submit a single assignment until the end of semester exam period was over, a think there were three due at various times during the semester, and she still managed a 7 for the subject!

  28. Frank

    Employers actively seek people who will knuckle down and fit in with the company.

    Once it becomes understood that Universities are teaching students to be whiny troublemakers it’s game over. That backlash is going to come real fast.

    But you forget to include the malign influence of the HR department, a fifth column of whiny undergraduate types infiltrating just about everywhere. It seems a two horse race to achieve critical mass, until the point of bankruptcy.

  29. Tel

    Governments whinge about declining STEM graduates but do nothing about Universities abandoning Science & Engineering for these “Mickey Mouse” Degrees probably because the returns are much better financially.

    When I was briefly involved in teaching, someone moderately official explained to me there was no value in Engineering because it’s just too expensive to teach with physical labs involved and heavy equipment. Business is the thing to teach because there’s no cost.

    Guess it is easier to import already trained people…

    No, import the whole box and dice, plug it into power on one socket, Internet on the other socket and if anything stops working ring the support center (disclaimer: support center may not be in Australia).

    I have to laugh… pretty soon we won’t be able to even provide power *sob*.

  30. Marcus Classis

    Well, we employ them, and good ones are near impossible to find.

    By good ones I mean literate ones who have actually been taught the basis of western civilisation, including some classical history (a major preferred) and a regional history. This can be Srivijayan history or the Tokugawa period. We don’t care.

    But we want a classical style liberal arts degree. Literate people who have been trained to both think, and to properly manage data to reach conclusions on complex politico-social-strategic historical issues.

    I am describing the bog-standard product of a 1960s Australian university.

    The bog-standard graduates now are spoiled, semi-literate (I mean that, too), cookie-cutter, entitled, ignorant brats who are astonished that they don’t waltz immediately into a mid-ranking position an $100K.

    So now we have to find the rare, rare jewel in the ignorant graduate mob (there’s still a very few) and fill most positions with older postgrads.

    A Masters (thesis preferred and we read it carefully) has generally replaced the B.A.

    Today’s standard B.A. is mostly considered as the same as the Higher School Certificate was regarded 30 years ago.

    Oh, the exception. An International Baccalaureate Diploma from specific high schools (International School Bangkok, for example) is a shoo-in. Those kids beat piss and pickhandles out of 95% of Australian uni B.A.s, being fully literate at a very high level in two languages is normal for those kids. Three is common. A recent one (Aussie expat kid raised in Thailand) had English, Thai and Sanskrit (Devanagari, not Brahmi). Three entirely different writing systems. Learned Sanskrit in High School to ‘conversational’ verbal and full written standard. Kid’s 19.

  31. Up The Workers!

    Fair dinkum.

    The man’s as silly as a hatful of Richo’s offcuts.

  32. his is a global trend, but local factors are significant causes. The government’s threat of $100,000 degrees frightened students and parents, understandably wary about accumulating debts in economically uncertain times

    100k degrees? only if you earn enough money to pay it off, otherwise it’s just another great chunk of my tax dollars flushed down the drain. Another reason why we have hordes of dolts spending ten years learning how to basket weave at their leisure and my expense, complete with Austudy, while living with mum and dad or a sharing a house with 6 others of their ilk. They then sit on their brain for the next ten years whining that they didn’t get a double degree to do manual labour! While we have to import people from overseas to do anything vaguely physical any/or unpalatable.

  33. Confused Old Misfit

    A kid? At 19? At 19 I was head of a 5 person TV broadcast coordination department.

  34. Confused Old Misfit

    I confess I only spoke two languages and had not yet completed university.

  35. mareeS

    Basically, they’re unemployable.

  36. Zatara

    How is it that UK and US employers employ Arts graduates in those countries where students debt is a serious issue compared to Australia?

    IF UK and US employers hire yarts graduates it’s because the job didn’t require a degree to begin with.

  37. James Hargrave

    ‘The bog-standard graduates now are spoiled, semi-literate (I mean that, too), cookie-cutter, entitled, ignorant brats…’

    But what do you expect when they are taught by the likes of Moses? Much of the stuff circulated by the Arts Faculty at Krapville (admin and ‘academics’) needed copy-editing and proof-reading.

  38. The Bachelor of Arts degree will hone your critical thinking skills to help you become an independent thinker, able to form and articulate judgements based on argument and evidence.

    Someone wrote this with a straight face? Global warming, gender is merely a social construct etc? Which faculty is an ardent follower and implementer of such ideas? Which faculty does not allow alternative views?

  39. cynical1

    That article must be satire.

    FFS.

  40. Roberto

    The bog-standard graduates now are spoiled, semi-literate (I mean that, too)

    Sigh. Don’t I know it? After being involved in our graduate recruitment for a number of years I’ve insisted we institute a dictation test for the graduate candidates. It quickly weeds out all those who, after 12 years’ schooling and 4 years of tertiary study, still can’t understand the difference between there/their/they’re or affect/effect or whose/who’s or its/it’s etc.

  41. H B Bear

    Looks like Dirk Moses has answered his own question (quote from Teh Australian paywalled),

    The ABC edits an article comparing The Australian’s Greg Sheridan and Chris Kenny to Norwegian killer Anders Breivik

    Their ALPBC staff co-op at it again. Expect Fifield to be all over it any time soon.

  42. Habib

    How is it that UK and US employers employ Arts graduates in those countries where students debt is a serious issue compared to Australia? They have many more fast food outlets.

    I wasted three years on a BA many decades ago, and while I had a lot of fun and developed my laziness it pisses me off I wasted three years when I could’ve been making some decent scratch. Humanities degrees now are so degraded and worthless only the truly idiotic still enrolls.

  43. None

    If we had universities still teaching classics or ancient history at a seriously proficient level – complete with classical languages , philology and archaeology etc – than I would employ their graduates. Given we don’t…meh.

  44. Marcus Classis

    Roberto:

    Sigh. Don’t I know it? After being involved in our graduate recruitment for a number of years I’ve insisted we institute a dictation test for the graduate candidates. It quickly weeds out all those who, after 12 years’ schooling and 4 years of tertiary study, still can’t understand the difference between there/their/they’re or affect/effect or whose/who’s or its/it’s etc.

    That’s a good thing to do and it is a good filter. When basic grammar is no longer taught, they replace it with guff from their phones.

    But look on the bright side, our educational outcomes might be on par with Kazakhstan, but we spend twice as much money on students are we did 30 years ago (inflation adjusted), and the teacher’s union is providing big kickbacks to the ALP.

  45. David Brewer

    The bog-standard graduates now are spoiled, semi-literate (I mean that, too)

    Sigh. Don’t I know it? After being involved in our graduate recruitment for a number of years I’ve insisted we institute a dictation test for the graduate candidates. It quickly weeds out all those who, after 12 years’ schooling and 4 years of tertiary study, still can’t understand the difference between there/their/they’re or affect/effect or whose/who’s or its/it’s etc.

    Mind you, what hope do we have when the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Australia expresses himself as follows in a formal, sitdown interview on national TV:

    So what we’ve to determined to do is to…ensure that families can move through the entire gambit of the system far simpler and cheaper and pay less money

    http://www.abc.net.au/insiders/sunday-10-june-full-program/9855056, from 18.36

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