What can you do with a Humanities degree?

If you're studying a humanities-based degree, there's a high chance you decided on your course based upon your interest and/or your aptitude for your subject. The good news is that your degree, despite not being vocational has given you lots of sought after skills that will stand you in excellent stead when it comes to your career. 

A good humanities degree is testament to your hard work, creativity and enthusiasm. From time to time, we're sure you may have questioned the value of your degree - 'but what on earth am I actually qualified for' - but there's no need to panic. There are a plethora of sectors waiting to welcome you. In fact, you might find that employers actively want someone with your degree background, so in demand are your qualities and transferable skills. Arguably, the hardest part is going to be narrowing down your many options. 

Learning about the history of art is all very well... but what career is this leading me to?

Your skills 

You've acquired skills on your degree, many of which you might not be aware. Take a second to think through some of these 'employability skills' you think you have acquired. I bet you could probably tick off several, if not all of the below. 

  • An ability to read well and digest a lot of information
  • Ability to write quickly and succinently 
  • To summarise, debate and articulate a point of view 
  • Ability to think critically
  • The ability to present and deliver points orally
  • Ability to work independently and motivate yourself 
  • Problem solving skills
  • Ability to think and act creatively and laterally
  • Ability to organise your workload and work to deadlines
  • Ability to develop opinions, propose ideas and theories
  • Ability to research 

All of these skills are valued highly by employers and each one can be transferred into the workplace. As such, you're already in a very good position so don't underestimate this. 

What career can I do?

On average 40% of graduate opportunities do not require a specific degree subject. If you can demonstrate an interest and an understanding for the career at question, usually through work experience or extra-curricular activities, you'll be on the right track. Of course there are some jobs which you won't be able to apply for - specficially those that require a particular degree - Medicine / Veterinary Medicine / Dentistry/ Engineering but it's never too late. If you've had an ephihany and you want to save lives and retrain as a doctor, there's nothing to stop you from doing that. For now though, we'll take a look at six paths you can follow in the more immediate term. 

1. Banking & Finance 

To excel in this sector you'll need an interest in the financial world - but your humanities degree will not hold you back. If you're ambitious, analytical and driven, this could be the sector for you. From client management to investor relations, trading to accounting, the banking and finance sector has a wealth of opportunities and you'll be sure to find something to suit your strengths.

  • Find out more about Investment Banking
  • Find out more about Investment & Asset Management
  • Find out more about Accounting, Audit & Tax
  • Find out more about Financial Services  

2. Consulting

Among our members, consulting is the most sought after sector. With good starting salaries and the breadth of roles and experiences available, it's no wonder that many a humanities graduate plumps for a career in consulting.  

The one thing that all graduates in this sector have in common? They all enjoy tackling intellectual challenges - and as a consultant that's at the heart of your role. The skills you've acquired in your degree are sought after by leading consultancy firms including McKinsey & CompanyBain & Company, Boston Consulting Group and PwC.  Find out more about consulting and why it could be a splendid fit for you. You could find yourself following in the footsteps of the Grammy award-winning musician John Legend. He started out as a management consultant after completing his English degree. 

3. Law

In Law, the ability to read large volumes of research and synthesise the key ideas into one or two succinct messages is a skill humanities students are highly trained in. This is just one of the reasons why a career in commercial law or as a barrister appeals to bright graduates. A career in law requires a keen intellect, a thirst for knowledge and a need to understand the bigger picture.

With a keen eye for detail, you'll have the chance to put everything you've learnt at university into practice. Armed with your degree, if you're dedicated and tenancious a career in law beckons. Find out more about a career in commercial law

4. Marketing, Media, PR, Publishing & Journalism, Consumer & Retail 

These sectors are perceived to be the more traditional career routes for humanities graduates. Combining your creative thinking and problem solving skillsset, this is often why graduates find these are the routes for them. What's more, with an ever changing technology and digital landscape, new opportunities and roles in these sectors are popping up all the time - and as a bright graduate you have the potential to excel. Find out more about each of the sectors just here:

  • Marketing & PR
  • Consumer & Retail
  • Journalism & Publishing
  • Media, Film & TV  

5. Charity, Public Sector, Education & Teaching 

If you're looking for an exciting, challenging and rewarding career, check out these sectors. As a humanities graduate you will most likely have the essential skills needed to excel and enjoy a career in these areas -  good team working skills, the ability to deal with people as well as excellent communication, organisational skills and an ability to work under pressure. There is a diverse range of roles available in this sector 

  • Charity & Social Enterprise
  • Public Sector & Government 
  • Education & Teaching 

6. Entrepreneurship

Ever thought about starting your own venture one day? Well, you wouldn't be the first humanities graduate to think that. With your skills and ability to work independently you might decide that starting your own business is the route for you. Take Stewart Butterfield. He studied Philosophy at Canada's University of Victoria and is now Co Founder & CEO of Slack Technologies, the current golden star of Silicon Valley with 1.1. million users and a market valuation of $2.8 billion. Lady Martha Lane Fox, Co Founder of lastminute.com studied history and Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and early investor in Facebook read Philosophy at Stanford University. Find out more about careers in entrepreneurship. 

A final word

As a humanities student, you have what is potentially the broadest scope of career options open to you and your degree provides a perfect springboard into a successful career. Think big. There's nothing stopping you from following a career path that you can really love.