Political Science Degrees and What Employers Want

This post is written by Joe Jaeger, CEO of Statecraft, an online international relations simulation:

In college my degree was based on my desired career. At the time I chose political science in order to become a lawyer.

My parents frantically recommended I pick a more “technical” degree. I loved and was fascinated by political science, but chose to also major in business “just in case” I changed my mind.

Sadly, many employers are reluctant to hire political science majors. The belief is that the degree fosters thoughtful writers and researchers instead of the problem solvers that many think can be found with business degrees.

As a student of business and political science and also an employer I must admit that I understand this perception. In political science I learned how to research and interpret vast amounts of data to come to a conclusion. As a business student I was required to do the same, but only as due diligence for implementing plans to solve problems or achieve goals.

Political science students are trained to answer questions like “Does illegal immigration from Mexico have a positive or negative effect on the economies of border towns?”  Business students are trained to answer, “What immigration plan would most benefit the economies of border towns and how should this plan be implemented?”

In order to maximize the employability of political science majors, students need to use concepts to solve problems. Changing expectations of what students research and write about will help; however, simulations are a more immediate solution as they require students to research, solve problems, negotiate, think critically, evaluate risk, and consider their resources and capabilities. These experiences often take years for businessmen to develop and are coveted by employers across all industries. The more simulations become a part of political science degree plans, the more needing a technical degree “just in case” won’t exist.