Stand out from the crowd with both technical skills and liberal arts on your resume
It’s no surprise that the 21st-century workplace demands versatility. In sectors as diverse as business, and academia, mass technology integration is a driving force putting smartphones in our hands and questions in our minds.
What jobs are appropriate for today’s perpetually plugged-in college grads? And what skills are employers looking for when it comes to filling traditional jobs with multi-talented modern workers?
Certain specialized skills no longer belong to a select tech-savvy group. Focused, technical and practical skills now go hand in hand with softer skills like leadership, communication, and critical thinking. New research shows employers want the best of both worlds, in ‘hybrid’ employees.
If you’re curious about what this entails, here’s our guide to going hybrid.
Students with Liberal Arts Education Ask: What is ‘Hybrid’ Hiring All About?
Looking to discover which skills are in-demand right now, Bentley University examined labor market analytics data from 24 million job listings here in the USA. Their researchers found that the highest-paying, fastest-expanding jobs all required a combination of technical and interpersonal skills.
In their words, employers want “multifaceted employees” with technical skills like information management along with “traditional soft skills” like communication and collaboration.
"We may refer to these skills as hard versus soft, IQ versus EQ, or left brain versus right brain," says Bentley researcher Susan Brennan. "Whatever the terminology, employees need to be able to effectively communicate what the data means and apply it to big-picture objectives."
Why Do Modern Workplaces Need Hybrid Workers?
Researchers are attributing this emerging need to the shift in workplace demographics nationwide. Because large numbers of baby boomers are retiring (taking years of institutional knowledge, experience, and expertise with them), new hires must fill an increasingly diverse and complex set of roles.
Thankfully, according to leaders in the education sector, learning trends align with this shift.
“This evolution reflects a growing movement in higher education,” explains Bentley President Gloria Cordes Larson, “where more and more schools are finding creative ways to truly integrate liberal arts strengths with professional and technical skills.”
While the workplaces are in need of more well-rounded workers, graduates themselves are becoming increasingly well-rounded. In this way, the hybridization shift could be seen to benefit both parties, as well as the communities where they work.
Cordes Larson expects this shift to facilitate an effective knowledge transfer between the generations, and encourage liberal arts naysayers to recognize their broader value. “It is exactly the type of change and innovation necessary to drive our economy.”
How Liberal Arts Studies Grads Can Take Advantage of This Trend
Because more companies are requiring this hybrid mix of technology and people skills, those with liberal arts education are perfectly positioned to compete on the job scene.
Because the liberal arts focus on helping students develop critical thinking, analysis, and collaboration skills, our students graduate willing and ready to contribute their diverse skill set to any workplace. They can view opportunities, challenges, and problems through multiple perspectives, and find merits in the varying perspectives of others. Put simply, liberal arts grads make great team members.
Students learn through group discussions in classes at Shimer
And at liberal arts colleges like Shimer, students learn more than foundational liberal arts studies. They can also specialize in a particular field of interest, and ultimately graduate with over 40 hours of ‘concentrated area studies’ under their belt.
"The best preparation for the changing job market begins in higher education and calls for a combination of professional courses with arts and sciences," confirms Cordes Larson. “Employers today want candidates with practical, analytical skills embedded in a liberal arts education."
Are you interested in earning a hybrid job by attending a small liberal arts college?
Visit Shimer to learn more about getting started!