November 25, 2020
Given the change of course that has happened in the world, we wanted to provide expert opinions on what aspiring graduates can do to start off their careers in an uncertain economic climate. We wanted to know what skills will be more important, where the economy is doing relatively well, and if there will be any lasting effects on the job market.
Companies are looking for candidates that can handle the new responsibilities of the job market. Recent graduates actually have an advantage because they are comfortable using newer technologies and have been communicating virtually their whole lives. They can take what they've learned and apply it immediately.
We spoke to professors and experts from several universities and companies to get their opinions on where the job market for recent graduates is heading, as well as how young graduates entering the industry can be adequately prepared. Here are their thoughts.
Lorain County Community College
American Association of Cosmetology Schools
Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education
American Defence Group
Western Kentucky University
Fairleigh Dickinson University
Franklin and Marshall College
University of Arkansas
Indiana University Southeast
Angelo State University
Montana State University - Billings
Emory Oxford College
Columbia International University
St. John's University
Lisa Noble: To be immediately valuable to employers, new graduates need to write well, think critically, draw reasonable conclusions from data and learn new things quickly -- this has always been true; if they can present well, so much the better! Happily, liberal arts students of all majors have these skills in abundance. That said, humanities majors have a decided advantage when it comes to written expression because they read and write so much as part of their course of study. English majors hone their craft as writers with focused guidance from their professors.
That said, with the digital transformation of virtually every industry, graduates who majored in the humanities will need to learn to use tools to create compelling digital content (Adobe Creative Suite, WordPress, HTML, Canva) and to measure and analyze its impact, whether it's an email or social media campaign, ads, websites, landing pages, or webinars (SEO, HubSpot or Pardot, Google Analytics, and more).
Regardless of what they pursue after they graduate, they will need, at a minimum, to be facile with Excel, PowerPoint (the language of business), collaboration tools like Monday.com, Asana, and SmartSheet and communication tools that facilitate remote work like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Slack.
Lisa Noble: With remote work likely to remain a primary way of doing business, and a fraction of the workforce returning to the office, it's expected that geography won't matter as much for new graduates as it has in the past. We are seeing more young alumni heading to less dense geographies, where there are exciting tech hubs and mountains for outdoor recreation. Jackson Hole, Park City, and Denver are beginning to overtake San Francisco and Seattle as attractive destinations for their relative affordability and quality of life. Increasingly, COVID has made everyone crave wide open spaces, after months of confinement in small apartments in big cities.
If the class of 2020 is any indication, the technology industry will likely continue to be a significant employer of graduates of all majors, followed by business, then education. We see many of our alumni in the humanities in non-coding roles in technology like UX Design, social media marketing, Customer Experience, product management, sales, marketing, employee engagement, and recruiting.
In this economic climate, where traditional media (book publishing, broadcast and print journalism, advertising) have frozen hiring, we are seeing our English majors exploring roles in business and corporate communications, investor relations, brand management, learning and development, and more.
Lisa Noble: Technology will impact every field! I imagine that English majors will be critical for improving artificial intelligence to create more satisfying and productive human-computer interactions. Who better to build the logic for a chatbot capable of providing adaptive, helpful, and empathetic responses to soothe the ruffled feathers of a frustrated visitor to a utility company's website or provide timely and appropriate support in the event of a real crisis?
There is very little that we won't be able to monitor in five years. English majors will have the ability to test and receive feedback on all communication manner in real-time, and adapt quickly to produce the desired results: did they attract the right audience with the right message? Did they compel the audience to respond as expected? Did first-time visitors to their website know intuitively what to do? Did they accomplish what they wanted to do in the way they expected? Were they delighted, and did they linger or buy more stuff? Will they evangelize the product or service or platform to others? Instead of waiting weeks or months for this insight and risk losing existing customers or alienating potential customers, English majors will be able to de-risk communications by fixing problems as quickly as they appear.
Jennifer Tockman: Flexibility, ability to adapt to whatever style work style, and the environment we are using given the world around us, working as a team (even if remote), can be a self-learner, especially in a private fashion. Excellent communication skills are also essential for success.
Jennifer Tockman: I believe it'll take this industry (as most industries) to a technology level we have not imagined. The successful candidates will be able to adapt to these changes quickly. Candidates will have to be willing to quickly learn new platforms, technologies, etc. as they roll out - otherwise, I feel they may be left behind.
School of Arts & SciencesWebsite
Hilary Walrod: Creative problem-solving, collaboration, and communication have always been essential skill sets, and they look to be increasingly important now and shortly. By applying these skill sets, fine arts graduates will be well-equipped to contribute to various professional settings. Developing the wherewithal to learn new skills and the latest best practices can enable graduates to situate themselves for adaptation and growth.
Flexibility, ability to adapt to whatever style work style, and the environment we are using, given the world around us, working as a team (even if remote), can be a self-learner, especially in a private fashion. Excellent communication skills are also essential for success.
Hilary Walrod: I envision that continual technological development - and widespread use of digital technology - will yield increasing opportunities to apply art and design skills in the field of interactive design.
I believe it'll take this industry (as most industries) to a technology level we have not imagined. The successful candidates will be able to adapt to these changes quickly. Candidates will have to be willing to quickly learn new platforms, technologies, etc. as they roll out - otherwise, I feel they may be left behind.
Lorain County Community College
Arts & Humanities DivisionWebsite
Tammy Bosley Ph.D.: I think that many employees will continue to work from home post-pandemic. During COVID-19, people worked effectively at home, and in many instances, were more productive than when they were physically at the office. Employers will likely consider if they should pay for office space when their employees can do their jobs at home. If the traditional office space does become obsolete, employees will have to reimagine their home offices to promote a professional environment for digital platforms. They'll also have to work harder at making connections with others. High tech requires high touch. In other words, when we rely on computer-mediated communication, we need to interact more to establish relationships. Improving and maintaining digital communication skills will be essential as employees navigate their post-pandemic careers.
Tammy Bosley Ph.D.: I think we'll continue to use digital platforms such as Zoom, WebEx, and Teams. We'll likely see improved options in these platforms, such as enhanced breakout rooms, better file-sharing capabilities, and synchronous document creation/editing. If we continue to work from home, these platforms will also need to do well on smartphones.
Tammy Bosley Ph.D.: The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that communication jobs would increase at the same rate as other professions. Communication is a general degree. Students who major in the discipline usually choose a specialty such as public relations, health communication, international communication, etc. to navigate employment opportunities successfully. Given the challenges everyone is facing in today's culture, communication graduates will be essential to meet the demands of a post COVID society.
American Association of Cosmetology SchoolsWebsite
Anthony Civitano: #1 is soft skills; younger generations are less and less equipped with these essential skills. Corona-19 will undoubtedly have an impact as social distancing has become the necessary norm, inhibiting person-to-person interaction. #2 Basic financial literacy and life/work balance. #3 The technical skills evolve over the years, and our schools stay connected with the industry's pulse and adjust their curriculum accordingly.
Anthony Civitano: Beauty is a worldwide necessity. Our graduates will always be in demand and never have their career of choice outsourced. Covid-19 has proven that Beauty professionals ARE ESSENTIAL WORKERS! We change people's lives by making them feel better about themselves, which has a fantastic effect on people.
Anthony Civitano: Education will be the largest affected. For many years the schools have wanted to have the ability to have distance education, or a hybrid at least, to teach our courses. The shut down of schools forced States Education Departments, US Department of Education, and Accreditors to allow Distance Education for our programs. It has exceeded our expectations and is being proven to be an effective means of delivering a large part of our programs.
Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management EducationWebsite
Dr. Anthony Stanowski: To be successful, graduates of healthcare management programs need to bring to market the following: skills and character. In terms of skills, they need to have strong technical and analytical skills, especially at the start of their career. These skills will morph over a job to encompass an interpretation of the data to lead others to action. And that is where communication skills and project management capabilities come in.
Indeed, young graduates need to understand the healthcare system, how it has changed, and why it has changed. This knowledge needs to be deeper than the sound bites heard on the news or from pundits. They need a foundational understanding of the key subjects taught in class.
Most importantly, they need to develop characteristics. Note that I say create, because some believe personal characteristics are innate. They can be learned, and they must be exercised. These characteristics include the ability to approach their work in new and breakthrough ways, innovate, and transform. They have to lead by having a strong sense of empathy by understanding that you show only when you help others succeed. They have to do whatever it takes to make things better, which means more than a 9 to 5 job. If you want a 9 to 5 job, there are better places to go than healthcare management.
Those are among the skills and characteristics young graduates need. For more, I would suggest taking a look at the competencies for leadership as developed by organizations such as the National Center for Healthcare Leadership https://www.nchl.org/page?page=272, the American College of Healthcare Executives https://www.ache.org/about-ache/resources-and-links/healthcare-leadership-competencies, the International Hospital Federation https://www.ihf-fih.org/resources/pdf/Leadership_Competencies_for_Healthcare_Services_Managers.pdf, Saint Louis University https://www.slu.edu/public-health-social-justice/pdfs/slu_mha_competencymodel_reviewedfall2016.pdf the National Association for Healthcare Quality https://nahq.org/education/nahq-healthcare-quality-competency-framework/, and many others. When evaluating a program to attend, ask about the competency model, they use to develop their curriculum. Does that competency model match what you want to learn? If the program does not know what a competency model is, politely thank them and go elsewhere.
Dr. Anthony Stanowski: Yes, the right places to look at are the places where you think you can make a difference. Where is your passion? Is it in inner-city areas, struggling to meet the needs of the poor and disenfranchised? Is it in rural areas where the challenges are how to knit together limited resources to provide to communities that are spread out to meet critical healthcare needs? Is it in sizeable academic health systems where the challenge lies in forming internal and external constituencies' coalitions to succeed?
Is it in integrated delivery systems that are national in scope, working to transform healthcare by knitting together insurance, pharmaceuticals, and patient care but are struggling against regulatory roadblocks and the established ways of doing things? Is your passion in the growing informatics sector, where you can help organizations use data more accurately? Is it in telemedicine? Health policy? Physician practice management? Know yourself and what you believe in. Work to make a difference. Healthcare is the noblest of fields, and I hope that people choosing to enter healthcare stay faithful to its calling.
Dr. Anthony Stanowski: Many projections show that the impact of COVID-19 will continue into 2022, even with a vaccine and therapeutics. The "new normal" will not return to 2019 but will incorporate technology and management methods developed to adjust to unforeseen challenges. The pandemic has made us all aware of the importance of healthcare delivery and the need to have dedicated people working to ensure our community's health. Healthcare executives will need to have critical competencies to succeed, including leadership, innovation, and a core understanding of healthcare delivery methods. Those entering the profession must rise to the challenge and accept that something will work, and others will not and be comfortable at a higher level of uncertainty than ever.
American Defence GroupWebsite
Randy Shearer: Business fundamentals; critical thinking skills; comfortable in the digital space; cost principles is a plus; general accounting.
Randy Shearer: The Federal Government will hire you quickly, train you, and give you increased responsibilities and rapid advancement. If you want to lay down core buying fundamentals - the federal government does that - beginning from day one.
Western Kentucky University
Department of Art & Design FacultyWebsite
Kara Glenn: Results. Prove the impact your work made on a project.
Kara Glenn: Focus on the digital sphere. Learn more about SEO, Paid Social Media Advertising, AdWords, Head mapping, and user experience.
Kara Glenn: Augmented Reality. Augmented Reality has a lot of practical applications for our industry. Using a phone to see the real-world environment with enhanced computer-generated visuals will allow users to test lipstick colors, try on sunglasses, and even see what furniture would look like in their home. - The technology is ready; we have to start using it.
Fairleigh Dickinson University
School of Public and Global AffairsWebsite
Peter Woolley Ph.D.: It depends on who is doing the hiring. (a.) Experience with budget management and any analysis is usually considered a big plus. Everyone runs on a budget. Someone's got to understand it and get the most out of it. I always recommend everyone take as many public finance courses as they can stand. (b.) Experience in a supervisory position is a standout. Emphasize any assignments you had looking after other people. And don't say you were assigned to train new employees. Say you were hand-picked to orient, onboard, and train new employees.
Peter Woolley Ph.D.: There is a universe of knowledge that each of us lacks. If you need or want to take a gap year, use it to figure out who you want to work for and at what level, and learn everything available about that organization or agency or job. If there's anything that's a mismatch for the job you want, take the gap year to fix it. There are lots of affordable and compact continuing-ed opportunities to showcase on your resume.
Peter Woolley Ph.D.: One next big thing will be blockchain technology. This will be used to keep records secure and to record every public transaction and contract. If you want to jump to the head of the line, start reading about it now.
Franklin and Marshall College
Dr. Stephanie McNulty Ph.D.: I expect that many of the same skills employers have always sought out will continue to be necessary. These include strong communication skills, working independently and in teams, and the ability to think critically about complex issues and solve complex problems. As a result of the pandemic and ongoing global trends, a strong understanding of and using new or innovative technology to do all of these things is essential. I expect this to continue into the coming years. As the economy shrinks, strong networking skills are also as vital as ever, and I do not wish to change.
Dr. Stephanie McNulty Ph.D.: Our recent graduates are finding many jobs in the same sectors and places as before the pandemic. I have been pleasantly surprised to find out that most of our former Government majors find exciting jobs. However, their mode of working has changed. Most of them are almost 100% online now, and many of them have not had to relocate to the city in which their employer is based. Public sector, non-profit, and policy jobs are still as important as ever, and, anecdotally, my impressions are that they do not seem to have been affected as much by the economic slowdown as the corporate sector. One growing field has been immigration law, although I am not sure how long that will last if the administration changes.
Dr. Stephanie McNulty Ph.D.: I expect that the workforce will continue to embrace the technologies that we are relying on now well into the future. We demonstrate that we are equally productive when working at home; we are holding all conferences and workshops online now. As a professor, I do not love teaching on Zoom, but I can create a sense of connection with my online students. We are developing and maintaining relationships in an online environment that many of us did not think possible, one year ago. For this reason, I expect organizations to recognize that some (not all) of our activities can be done virtually and can reduce costs for the organization. A side effect may be the reduction of work travel, which would also help the environment.
University of Arkansas
Lori Birrell: Being an independent worker is a crucial skill for those entering the library science field. Those who are flexible and comfortable with taking the initiative can apply their skills and knowledge background to a variety of tasks and positions. Communication, being detail-oriented, and leadership are also essential skills to bring to the workforce. Librarians interact daily-regardless of their status-with a wide variety of stakeholders. Those professionals who are most successful will be those who can advocate for their work and its impact on the organization and society.
Lori Birrell: Graduate schools sometimes produce hundreds of graduates, looking for positions in a minimal geographic region. Though larger urban areas often have more libraries, there can be significant competition for those positions. For those who can move, they increase the likelihood of finding a job.
Lori Birrell: Emerging technologies have been a mainstay in the library science profession for decades. In the coming years, our work will continue to grapple with the impact of AI, facial recognition software, and the tools that support big data, as the nature of research and our users' needs- continue to evolve.
Indiana University Southeast
School of Social SciencesWebsite
Meghan Kahn Ph.D.: Surveys of employers have shown that communication (written and verbal), problem-solving, data analysis, and conflict management are critical in today's workforce. Even locally, the population is more diverse than it was a short time ago, so knowledge of other cultures and cultural communication practice is also essential.
Meghan Kahn Ph.D.: Most of our graduates have ties to the Kentuckian area, as we are a regional campus of Indiana University. Jobs in mental health continue to be in high demand across the country and the local area. Many of our undergraduates find employment in the Indiana Department of Child Services or local applied behavioral analysis organizations such as Little Star and Hopebridge. Data analysis and program assessment are other jobs that are needed in organizations across the nation.
Meghan Kahn Ph.D.: The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted more growth in telework, including in mental health. Telehealth is growing in popularity within mental health counseling, which is likely to be true even after the pandemic. Many human resources and data management jobs have moved to remote work during the epidemic and are likely to continue with remote work, to some degree, after the pandemic.
Angelo State University
Department of MathematicsWebsite
Dr. Jesse Taylor Ph.D.: The answer to this depends mostly on how we define enduring. Will graduates be affected in the next five years? Almost certainly. Will they be affected in twenty years? Probably, but it's much harder to predict things on this scale. However, I will say that a large portion of mathematicians is employed by government agencies: public schools (K-12 and colleges/universities) and the National Security Agency (NSA). Like many companies, these entities are experiencing a substantial amount of hiring freezes, layoffs, etc.
That means that new graduates will likely have a tough time finding initial employment. That can have a very far-reaching effect on a person's earning potential throughout their lifetime. Also, I think that the pandemic is changing the landscape of our economy. We are shifting to remote work and virtual solutions at an increased pace, especially for jobs that require a college degree.
Some of these shifts will likely revert to previous practices when a vaccine is developed, and the pandemic gets more under control. However, it's hard to imagine that everything will go back to the way it was. Which of these changes will stay and will go is hard to predict, but today's graduates are entering a workforce fraught with uncertainty. Whether direct or indirect, I think that this pandemic will affect today's graduates in an enduring way
Dr. Jesse Taylor Ph.D.: The three jobs in the US that come to mind are teaching math at the K-12 level, doing data analysis, and becoming an actuary. Many states currently have shortages of qualified math teachers. While the pay is not exceptional, the likelihood of getting work quickly after graduation is excellent, if you can pass the teaching licensure exam in the state you would like to teach in.
With the shift to technology and big data in today's economy, knowing how to analyze and interpret data is a skill in increasing demand. This option typically requires a bit of coding experience, but not a full degree in computer science. The final option mentioned in my list is becoming an actuary. In short, an actuary is a business professional who analyzes risk. More specifically, they explore the financial implications of risk.
For example, insurance companies rely on actuaries to determine how much to charge for insurance premiums so that they make money in the long-run, after accounting for all the claims they will need to payout. All of this is based on probability after accounting for factors like age, health, location, etc. This career requires only a bachelor's degree and requires you to pass a series of complicated industry-standard exams.It's an excellent option for good test-takers and organized and self-disciplined students.
Dr. Jesse Taylor Ph.D.: Technology will have a significant impact on many fields in the next five years, including mathematics. I think the most profound effect will be a further shift toward studying applied mathematics and algorithms at all levels of education. As opposed to theoretical mathematics, applied mathematics is the study of how math is used in the real world.
Think statistics, data analysis, manipulation of matrices, and solving differential equations. As the world relies more and more on technology, algorithms' study and understanding become more critical. Algorithms represent computers' thought processes, and understanding them is fundamental to anyone who wants to write computer code. This shift toward computer-related math has been happening for decades, and I think it will only accelerate as we move forward.
Michael Lorr Ph.D.: Graduates in sociology and community leadership will need to be critical thinkers, meaning they need to see the world from multiple perspectives and not be blinded by their ideologies. They also will need to continue to have and learn to facilitate difficult conversations across social divisions, both in-person and online--as the pandemic is illustrating.
Michael Lorr Ph.D.: Graduates in sociology and community leaders interested in governmental and non-profit work will find many people retiring as the boomers start to exit the workforce--cities like Grand Rapids, MI will have many opportunities in both of these areas.
Michael Lorr Ph.D.: As the pandemic is showing us currently, graduates will need to be able to do their work in traditional face-to-face ways and be confident in doing work virtually on a variety of computer- and internet-based platforms.
Montana State University - Billings
College of Education
Robin Cormier: While college graduates begin to launch their careers, they also face uncertainty about job opportunities. This can be a daunting time in their life. First and foremost, they should be proud of their achievements. There are many steps they can take to prepare for a future career, such as developing a network and building a strong resume. However, in my opinion, the most important advice I would offer new graduates is to pursue their passion. When you are passionate about your career, your life is more fulfilling, and you are more determined to achieve success. Passion shows through how you communicate, develop working relationships, and your level of career investment.
Robin Cormier: As current educators are adjusting to the global pandemic by using remote learning tools, I believe the technology developed will continue to shape how the educational curriculum is delivered. Online platforms will continue to grow and become more sophisticated. Educators and school counselors will be required to navigate online delivery systems to provide students with guidance and collaborate with families, administration, and community members to meet students' academic, social/emotional, and career development needs.
Robin Cormier: I would rate starting salaries for graduates in the field of school counseling as average to above average. School counselors' median starting salaries range anywhere from $56,000 to $90,000 a year in the United States. While school counseling is not one of the highest paying career fields, it is a fulfilling career that provides a practical work and private life balance in stress level and flexibility. School counselors have opportunities to advance their careers and salary through years of experience and continuing education.
Emory Oxford College
Christopher Blake Ph.D.: More than anything, the last few months have highlighted trends that existed before the COVID-19 pandemic. The most successful companies have been those that can adapt quickly, penetrate new markets, and continuously improve (e.g., the expansion of delivery options from significant retailers, rethinking to-go choices from restaurants, and tech companies finding new applications for their products). Likewise, flexibility is imperative for recent graduates. I see two comfortable places to start for those about to embark on their careers.
First and foremost, understand the power of technology. Younger people tend to know how technology functions, but often struggle to see how best to use it. Think critically about apps, statistical software platforms, coding languages, etc. to make sure that you are using them in a way that maximizes your potential. The labor market is likely to be tight (slow growth in openings relative to the number of people seeking work) for the foreseeable future. So, highlighting how you use technology effectively could be a difference-maker as you hunt for jobs.
Secondly, communication is going to be essential for workers. The importance of communication only grows as work transitions to being more remote. Communicating effectively will be necessary to get a job, and a graduate's success in that job will be determined, in part, by how well they effectively communicate with managers, those they manage, and others in the company. This is admittedly difficult for those graduating in economics as many of us tend to be introverted, but it is a crucial skill a graduate should work to develop.
Christopher Blake Ph.D.: If you had asked me last year, I would say that several places a graduate could find ample work opportunities. Any city with a Federal Reserve Branch Bank is a safe bet for those interested in public policy. The private sector is always looking for qualified economists to help with data analysis, modeling, and strategy. While there is still decent demand for those with strong communication, modeling, and data skills, the movement to more remote work makes it more likely a graduate can find a job anywhere. This may be one of the few positives from this job market cycle, relative to last year's, as there will be many jobs that no longer ask that one moves to the job's physical location.
Digital "places" are then perhaps more critical. For academic and research jobs, always keep an eye on the Job Openings for Economists list through the American Economic Association website (https://www.aeaweb.org/joe/listings?). A handful of other sites are devoted to academic and research jobs, though these are used less frequently (EconJobMarket comes to mind: https://econjobmarket.org/). Outside of academic and research positions, the world is truly your oyster - as they say. Remaining active on job boards, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms, and even checking specific large company websites can all prove valuable sources to find work opportunities. There will always be a demand for strong candidates who can understand the plethora of data collected these days.
Christopher Blake Ph.D.: Generally speaking, technological change in economics-related careers has risen as computing power has increased. With greater computing power, economists can analyze more massive datasets and store more information, faster than ever. While the speed and scope of economic analysis have changed, I do not view the present trajectory of technological change as something that will fundamentally change the economic approach. Furthermore, because technological change is mostly out of future graduates' hands in economics, I think it is far more critical for graduates to focus on what they can do technologically.
First, the number and size of available datasets, available publicly and privately, have increased significantly in recent years. Graduates should keep tabs on these datasets and make sure they are up-to-date on new releases. This will help them perform economic analysis easier in any setting.
Secondly, graduates should keep the famous Bill Gates quote in mind during their data work: "I choose a lazy person to do a hard job because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it." As open-source coding languages like R and Python have become more ubiquitous, many very cool packages and source codes have been developed. I cannot stress enough how much graduates should take advantage of these - they will save time, energy, and sanity. When no one has created a code to do a repetitive process, a graduate should take the time to work towards putting something out there. Not only does it make their work more manageable in the future, but it gets their name out there as well.
Finally, the rise in technical communications platforms has genuinely broken the link between jobs and locations. It may be the case that a graduate could effectively turn an "in-person" appointment to one that is remote, if they can effectively convince a hiring manager. Graduates will need to get creative in these and similar ways to avoid struggling to find work as this pandemic continues.
Columbia International University
School of Education and the School of Business and Professional Studies
Dr. Brian Simmons: The context you mentioned was "starting a career with a leadership degree." Here at Columbia International University, we offer several graduate leadership degrees, including a Masters in Organizational Leadership and a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership. These degrees are designed with working adults in mind. Many of these working adults are already leaders in their respective fields, looking for new places of service and advancement opportunities in their current employment places. So, work experience without gaps is essential on a resume. Also, course work and degree programs that teach practical skills aligned with job responsibilities in the world of work will benefit these degree programs' grads because you do not know what you do not know! Finally, high GPAs in these degree programs will set the best and brightest high performing students apart from the rest.
Dr. Brian Simmons: I would not think so much in terms of "skills to enhance" but rather experiences that will add depth of insight and understanding. Candidates with a variety of practical experiences, coupled with rigorous academic training, are set apart from others.
Dr. Brian Simmons: COVID 19 has necessitated a rapid academic response to the educational needs of students. Teaching and learning that was conducted in a F2F mode of content delivery were thrust online last spring. Today, much teaching and education continue to be offered, either online or in a blended format. When we get beyond the pandemic, we will engage in reflective practice to glean from our experiences. My hunch is that there will be a new standard and more willingness to engage students online via learning management systems.
Department of PhilosophyWebsite
Nancy McHugh Ph.D.: Students will need high problem-solving skills to tackle complex, sometimes seemingly intractable problems, the ability to think critically, the ability to engage a wide range of perspectives, and the ability to think compassionately and creatively. Philosophy majors are well set up for this sort of skills cluster because it is built into most philosophy curriculum.
All of the students in our department are also trained in public philosophy. This positions them well to use these skills to work in a range of fields because they have already worked in multiple public spaces with a range of communities.
Nancy McHugh Ph.D.: I think that there are opportunities in most parts of the country. It is more about what sort of work students are looking for. A lot of philosophy majors go to law school or into non-profit work. There are opportunities for that everywhere. We've had several students go into public health graduate programs, which also has lots of geographic options. That so many of us are learning to work well-remotely is opening up a lot of options for where people live that are not as tied to the location of one's employment. Thus, I'd say most locations can be ideal locations. It is a matter of what individuals are looking for.
Nancy McHugh Ph.D.: The ability to work remotely and collaborate across platforms is one of the biggest impacts that technology will continue to have on our students. Philosophy grads tend to be very adept and innovative with technology. You see a lot of philosophers developing podcasts and virtual platforms for sharing information. These skills will continue to be built and used in philosophy and out in the workplace.
St. John's University
Department of AccountancyWebsite
Joseph Trainor Ph.D.: The type of skills expected by young graduates in accounting is moving increasingly into the technology area. The AICPA's new model for CPA licensure (CPA Evolution) recognizes the important role that technology has had, and will continue to have, on the accounting profession. To be competitive in the job market, accounting students need to have real-world technology skills, including some knowledge and practical ability in tools for things such as data-analyzation, data-visualization, and robotic process automation.
Students should focus on the underlying concepts of these technologies, rather than a particular software package. Finally, accounting students must be able to effectively use Excel, including advanced functions. Excel is one of the basic tools in an accountant's toolbox, so proficiency in using Excel is a must for any accountant.
Joseph Trainor Ph.D.: Accountants are needed throughout the country, but demand is particularly high in New York City and other metropolitan areas. The trend towards moving into cities may be stagnant or decline, due to the pandemic, but demand for accounting professionals in cities remains strong.
Joseph Trainor Ph.D.: Technology is rapidly changing the accounting profession as artificial intelligence, and automated processes change the nature of accountants' work. Because of advances in technology, accountants will be able to perform higher-level value-providing services for their clients, rather than being bogged down in repetitive tasks. Outsourcing of repetitive tasks will also decline, as automation fills that role. The type of work that accountants perform will change in the next five years, but those changes will be positive, as technology will free up accountants to do more interesting work and provide even greater value to their clients.
Department of AccountingWebsite
Elizabeth Gordon: Preparing accounting students for their future means focusing their education on developing their critical thinking, decision making, and judgment, and truly thinking like an accountant requires critical thinking skills to be able to make judgments, to create and to use the information to solve problems and make good decisions. After all, accounting is not about rote memorization or data processing - tasks that do not require a university education. A university accounting education should foster curious and adaptive problem solvers with strong analytical skills and technical knowledge of accounting.
Elizabeth Gordon: Almost every type of organization, whether a corporation, a non-profit, or a government entity, needs an accountant. So, there will be opportunities for accounting majors throughout the United States. Regions that are growing will be particularly good places in the United States to find work opportunities after graduation.
Elizabeth Gordon: New technologies, big data, artificial intelligence, machine-driven learning, and other trends are transforming business. The rise of these technologies threatens some traditional accounting functions and accounting jobs. To best prepare our students for this changing business environment, accounting education has to be focused, agile, and innovative. While some jobs can be automated, critical thinking, decision making, and judgment are more difficult to replace. Focusing on accounting education, on critical thinking, decision making, and problem solving provides the agility to fold in new technologies and trends as they emerge.