Monday, 31 October 2011

Philosophy and Employability

Here is a link to a good Times Higher Education article on the relationship between Philosophy and Employability. The author makes a number of interesting points about the relationship between Philosophy and getting a job. While all the usual suspects are touched upon- analytical skills, autonomous learning, thinking outside the box etc. - the article makes two interesting points. Firstly, the rate of students taking Philosophy was on a gradual increase from 2001 onwards (How the change in the fee structure will affect this for better or worse remains to be seen). Secondly, Philosophy with its focus on coming to terms with dense and abstract material, as well familiarizing oneself with the 'argumentative structure' of texts and debates is valuable for a range of employers who appreciate the transferable skills that Philosophy offers. The basic point I supposeis, that Philosophy offers you the ability to position yourself in a number of employment contexts. This would seem to my mind very attractive for students, since it offers you many different paths of career development. As the article shows, Philosophy is valuable in the existing economic order. The reason it is valuable, is because there has been a move from an industrial society to one based on what is known as the 'knowledge economy'. This means that jobs which are devoted to the creation and management of knowledge are widely available. While certainly discourse surrounding the 'knowledge economy is abstract there is an underlying logic to it. More and more jobs are based around the management of information. Philosophy on its own or in conjunction with postgraduate study can get you into a number of careers such as finance, modern technology industries, internet companies and the civil services amongst others.