A Vote of Confidence for the Humanities

In recent years, there has been an increasing push for students to study STEM subjects, including science, technology, engineering and math. As someone who has always been interested in humanities and social sciences, I have found myself from time to time regretting that I did not take a shine to STEM. It seems students who pursue STEM are promised more certainty in their job prospects, the potential for higher salaries, and overall the allure of a more “prestigious” career. Undoubtedly, with general advances in research and technology, the STEM field is rapidly growing. However, this does not undermine the value of studying humanities. In a reflection of common attributes of the company’s top employees, Google discovered some interesting characteristics among its most successful team members. These noteworthy findings are discussed in an article featured in The Washington Post.

Google reflected on its employees between its founding in 1998 and 2013 during “Project Oxygen.” The top characteristics of employees who were proven to thrive at the company are as follows, in order of importance:

  1. Being a good coach
  2. Communicating and listening well
  3. Possessing insights into others
  4. Having empathy toward one’s colleagues
  5. Being a critical thinker and problem solver
  6. Being able to make connections
  7. STEM expertise

In spring 2017, another project called “Project Aristotle” provided even more insight into the value of “soft skills” even in STEM-dominated careers. Soft skills refer to personal traits often related to working effectively with others. Hard skills are most often understood as specific, measurable, teachable skills such as math and an expertise in given software programs.

These insights reveal that it takes more than only STEM expertise to run a successful company, in fact, most of the attributes of the most successful and sought-after employees are those that can be derived from an understanding of the humanities.

 

 

Information obtained from: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/12/20/the-surprising-thing-google-learned-about-its-employees-and-what-it-means-for-todays-students/?utm_term=.4f04f9c9c699

Images obtained from: pixabay.com

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