Is Your Degree ‘Too Soft’ For Employment?

Lujain Alkhalaf 

Getting a degree is hard work! Those long nights of studying for exams,  all those times you’ve tried to complete your assignment the day it’s due, the hours you’ve spent in lecture halls and libraries to get that grade you’re after. However, many people believe that different degrees vary in the level of skills and intellect. But does this make people’s degrees less respected or less sought after by employers? Are some degrees simply too ‘soft’ in the eyes of employers? 

Traditionally, a soft degree is viewed as a degree outside classical subjects like science and English. However, ‘soft’ degrees today are seen as easier, require less effort, intellect and less specialised skills than the ‘hard’ degrees. 

I don’t personally think that is a fair description; I still think that students require good intellect and effort to complete these degrees. It may be true that the workload varies between these different degrees, but to merely refer to a degree as ‘soft’ based on the workload or how difficult it appears is subjective.  

Nevertheless, some degrees are simply more sought after by employers. 

The most employable degrees currently in the UK (according to Study in UK) are: 

  • Economics
  • Computer Science 
  • Law
  • Mathematics
  • Engineering
  • Medicine 
  • Dentistry
  • Architecture
  • Education 


In the upcoming years degrees in: artificial intelligence and robotics, biomedical engineering, chemical engineering will be highly sought after by employers.  

Here’s a list of some degrees that are regarded as ‘soft’:

  • Fashion design
  • Music 
  • Performing arts
  • Psychology 
  • Business
  • Health and Social care 
  • Communication studies 
  • Art and design 
  • Film studies 
  • Accounting and finance
  • Marketing degrees


There seems to be an agreement that having a degree in some of the courses listed under ‘soft’ degrees may not increase your chance of employment.

It is that level of experience that makes you more employable, not your degree in some of the ‘soft’ courses

Most companies seem to have a greater interest in the level of experience you have when entering a career that is related to some of these degrees. Therefore, it is that level of experience that makes you more employable, not your degree in some of the ‘soft’ courses.

So many students question why universities continue to offer some of these courses (at undergraduate level) despite their reputation as ‘soft’? Most universities today operate as a business and it appears that these ‘soft’ courses provide a good income for them. 

Furthermore, reading many forums online, there are a lot of young people with ‘softer’ degrees but who are struggling to find employment in the area they have studied.

Many have the degree but  zero work experience which leaves them competing in the fierce job market. Some people were even happy to comment on degrees they think aren’t very respected in society and just a waste of time. 

An article by The Independent suggested that with a huge number of people now holding an undergraduate degree, it makes some degrees worthless. Also, the increasing numbers of students studying for degrees seemed to negatively effect the teaching in universities with classes being “too large.”

The article revealed that some students feel pressured into studying a postgraduate degree just to stand out in the jobs market, but this leaves them with even more debt. 

Should students pursue a degree that is more employable, and regarded as more respectable, over something they love?

So, should students pursue a degree that is more employable, and regarded as more respectable, over something they love?

Most of us believe that we should pursue a career we are passionate about, but if the degree you hold is making it difficult to enter your desired career, is it more worthwhile to study a degree that is more sought after? Or perhaps you should find the work experience that employers are looking for rather than studying that ‘soft’ degree which should save you time and money? 

Perhaps good advice would be to look at the employability of the degree you plan to study, this should help you see if the time and money you will spend on that degree will support you in the future. 

Lujain Alkhalaf 

Featured image courtesy of Tim Guow via Unsplash. Image license found hereNo changes were made to this image. 

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