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Part III. The Humanities Workforce

Section A. Employment in Humanistic Occupations and Settings
Indicator III-1 Humanities-Related Employment
Indicator III-2 Salaries in Humanistic Occupations
Section B. Career Paths of Humanities College Graduates
Indicator III-3 Occupations of College Graduates Who Majored in Humanities Disciplines
Indicator III-4 Salaries & Job Satisfaction of Humanities College Graduates
Indicator III-5 Undergraduate Humanities Majors and the Professions
Section C. Career Paths of Humanities Ph.D.’s
Indicator III-6 Job Status of Humanities Ph.D.’s at Time of Graduation
Indicator III-7 Occupations of Humanities Ph.D.’s
Indicator III-8 Career Paths for Specific Disciplines
Section D. Postsecondary Humanities Faculty
Indicator III-9 Number of Humanities Faculty
Indicator III-10 Institutional Distribution of Humanities Faculty
Indicator III-11 Traditional versus Nontraditional Humanities Faculty
Indicator III-12 Ethnic Composition of Humanities Faculty
Indicator III-13 Distribution of Humanities Faculty by Gender
Indicator III-14 Faculty Earnings
Indicator III-15 Job Satisfaction


Although the role of the humanities in the economic life of the United States may not be as readily apparent as that of engineering, for example, the humanities are, in fact, crucial to many fundamental elements and functions of modern economic productivity. Institutions such as museums and universities, as well as business enterprises in publishing and journalism, generate employment, returns on private investments, and tax revenues. They also depend on the humanistic skills of critical thinking, reading, writing, and speaking, and, while these skills have always been important, they have become increasingly vital to today’s knowledge-based economy, which requires a strong humanities workforce.

The extent and the characteristics of this workforce are the focus of the first section of this part of the Humanities Indicators. Data gathered for inclusion there treat not only occupations involved in the creation or dissemination of humanities knowledge, but also those jobs that are performed in humanities institutions (e.g, a cashier in an art museum gift shop) or that support humanistic endeavors (e.g., the janitorial or food service jobs at universities). The next two sections look more closely at another important issue—namely, the relationship between higher education in the humanities and subsequent employment. What are the occupations and professions of those who received their undergraduate and graduate degrees in the humanities? What are their salaries compared to those whose educational backgrounds are in other fields? What are their levels of job satisfaction? Having addressed these and other questions about the humanities workforce, Part III conclude with a section that focuses on a particular segment that has attracted much attention in recent years: postsecondary humanities faculty. While this section covers such topics as their demographic characteristics and institutional status, the data also allow for comparisons of humanities faculty with those who teach in other fields and thus can help to inform ongoing debates about the flexibility and diversity of the academic workforce.

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