Indeed, data from North­eastern University’s Center for Labor Market Studies show that young adults with degrees in engi­neering, math, and com­puter sci­ence are far more likely to get pro­fes­sional jobs that require col­lege degrees than those with other majors.

About 80 per­cent of such “tech­nical” degree holders have college-​​level pro­fes­sional jobs, com­pared to just 59 per­cent of those with degrees in the human­i­ties, according to the North­eastern center.

To put in another way, more than 40 per­cent of recent human­i­ties grad­u­ates are working as bar­tenders, retail sales asso­ciates, and at other jobs that don’t require col­lege degrees — double the share of those with tech­nical majors.

And not only are degree holders with very spe­cific types of skills more likely to find jobs, they’re also more likely to land jobs that pay more higher paying jobs as well.

Maria Stein, director of career ser­vices at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity, said a typ­ical com­puter sci­ence grad in the Boston or Sil­icon Valley areas can com­mand about $80,000 — or more — for a job, while elec­trical and mechan­ical engi­neering grads are get­ting offers starting in the $55,000 to $60,000 range.

But those with classic lib­eral arts degrees, such as his­tory, Eng­lish, and polit­ical sci­ence, often don’t make even half of what computer-​​science majors com­mand right out of col­lege — assuming they can even find a pro­fes­sional posi­tion within their chosen fields, according to labor economists.

One non­tech­nical major that’s recently seen signs of improve­ment in terms of employ­ment prospects is busi­ness admin­is­tra­tion, as long as the degree includes very spe­cific con­cen­tra­tions, such as accounting, finance, and dig­ital mar­keting, according to labor market specialists.

Chris Wolfel, 23, grad­u­ates from North­eastern this week with a busi­ness admin­is­tra­tion degree with con­cen­tra­tions in entre­pre­neur­ship and mar­keting. Through Northeastern’s coop­er­a­tive edu­ca­tion pro­gram, which places stu­dents in semester-​​long jobs in their fields, Wolfel worked at number of Boston-​​area tech firms over the past four years, gaining valu­able expe­ri­ence and con­tacts along the way.

Recently, Wolfel applied for and got a sales job at Yesware Inc., a venture-​​backed Boston firm that develops e-​​mail tools for sales people.

Part of me was ner­vous about where I would land,” said Wolfel, a native of Plainville, Conn. “But the start-​​up scene in Boston is very strong and there’s more oppor­tu­ni­ties now with young tech companies.”

Read the article at The Boston Globe →