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November 7, 2008


The SBA Office of Advocacy published an interesting report by economist Dr. Chad Moutray called: Baccalaureate Education and the Employment Decision: Self-Employment and the Class of 1993.

The study found that "College graduates who specialize in social science tend toward self-employment as compared to those with bachelor’s degrees in other subjects".

Interesting, no? Any other social science majors out there? As for me, I double majored in Sociology/Anthropology and Educational Studies...so this finding can certainly be generalized to me!

The study doesn't posit any theories on the correlation, but instead leaves us to our own musings...

* Perhaps it is because we social science majors are interested in the nuance and complexity of the social world. We see the interconnections and linkages between themes, patterns, systems, and people.

* Or perhaps, it is because most social science majors graduate asking the question, "What can you really do with a degree in XYZ?". And because of this we are left to our own creative devices when it comes to career development.

* Or perhaps it is because the study of social sciences instills in us an inquisitive tradition, encouraging us to go about the world asking "why things are the way they are?" and "under what circumstances could they be different?"

For what it is worth, Moutray also found "that business and management majors are more likely to work in for-profit businesses while those with specialized degrees such as health, education, or biology are more likely to end up working for non-profits and the government."

And, that "race, ethnicity, and gender did not play a large role in who became self-employed."

However quite humorously, the study found that a student’s motivation as measured by a series of “values” questions in 1993, closely tracked with employment decisions a decade later.

"Those who valued job-security were more likely to be government employees, those who desired intellectual challenge were likely to work in non-profits, and those who did not highly value prestige and status were more likely to be self-employed."

All of this seems so true to me! Although, the fact that the students didn't highly value prestige and status may have explained why they (we) were social science majors in the first place!

posted by Adelaide

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