Face Off: Should university graduates look for jobs based on their major?

Face Off: Should university graduates look for jobs based on their major?

Anson Chan Pui Shing, 16, Carmel Secondary School

Should those who want to become doctors study medicine at university? Definitely. Should those study medicine in university become doctors? No.

It’s important to look at the factors affecting undergraduates’ job choices. Employment prospects, available jobs in that industry, and a student’s own interests should be considered.

Students don’t choose a subject solely based on the job they want, but also for acquiring knowledge. Some may only be interested in learning more about a subject, and have no plans to make a living in that field.

For example, those who study Chinese Literature may be keen to appreciate the beauty of poems and writing. However, they might not be interested in being a literary critic.

It’s not always practical to look for jobs related to a degree. For example, there aren’t enough “philosopher” jobs for all those who study philosophy. The need to make a living means graduates often need to find jobs that aren’t connected to what they studied.

The availability of jobs is a crucial factor. As the world changes and technology advances, the demand for workers in particular fields changes too. The labour market might have changed between starting a degree and graduating. 

Not all jobs can be prepared for at university; what about becoming a pilot or police officer? We shouldn’t narrow our options with this kind of traditional thinking.

Face Off: Is a gap year between secondary school and university beneficial?

Tacye Hong, 18, University of Toronto

One of the main reasons why people go to university is to get an education that will help secure a future career. Tuition fees are not cheap and it is often the parents who pay for the cost; many work hard to put their children through higher education.

Getting a job that shows the four years at university have not been a waste of money or time is the least a responsible student could do to repay their parents. If students get a job that does not require a degree or isn’t at all related to what they studied, they could have spent their four years more wisely, by gaining work experience or even starting the job right away.

University gives you the knowledge and skills to prepare for work in a specific area. It is easier to find work related to your field of study because it shows the employer you have enough knowledge for that job and that they do not have to provide a lot of extra training for you – training an employee costs money and time. Someone who can soon work independently has an obvious advantage over a candidate with a random degree.

Some students end up in a completely unrelated job because they might have had enough of their subject at university. But we should not be easy quitters. No matter which job you choose, there are always going to be challenges. You won’t get anywhere if you quit every time the road is tough.

We choose to study in an area we’re interested in. Therefore, it’s meaningful and rewarding to turn this interest into a career.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Should university graduates look for jobs based on their major?


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