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Understanding the occupations and skills of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences graduates

IER’s work on graduate skills utilisation has been ongoing since the late 1980s. Building on this track record of expertise, IER was commissioned by the British Academy to undertake mixed-methods research to inform their Skills project which has sought to articulate and celebrate the skills gained through studying arts, humanities and social sciences (AHSS). AHSS students make up 55% of all university students and this work provides the most comprehensive evidence on the skills that the 1.25 million students who study arts, humanities and social sciences develop through their degrees.

The research found that the skills of AHSS graduates were highly valued by employers, particularly their communicative and analytical skills and their ability to adapt these skills to the twenty-first century workplace.

IER’s research was one of several strands of research which were used to build the evidence to inform high-level policy debate on the value of these skills to the individual, to society and to the economy. The results were launched at the House of Lords by Professor Sir Ian Diamond in 2018. The research further provides evidence for young people making decisions about what to study at A Level and in higher education.

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