Social Science graduates have traditionally worked in the classroom, but increasingly more and more opportunities are arising for people with a social science background. The usefulness of employing graduates with an understanding of human behaviour is becoming acknowledged in the 21st century. The main reason for this growing trend is the complexity of social life, the scope and scale of global business, the volatility of markets, incessant social change, increasing social protest among action groups and the increase in diversity. All of these aspects bring about questions for organisations such as: How are people to be coordinated? How are people to be treated? How can employees be made content in their work? How can employees be given the opportunity for intellectual and social growth? What are the major concerns of certain categories? How can conflict when it arises be mediated? How can we be aware of the general attitude of the public on an issue? These questions are the essence of social science and those who have to deal with such questions can range from the cr̬che owners, the social welfare officer, the school principal, the community worker , the pastor, the web designer, the local shop keeper to the Government department.
People trained in the social sciences bring with them a perspective that is sensitive to the larger social and cultural forces in the world. They are aware of their own and others�۪ potential and limitations. This is what makes workers stand out as they are able to deal positively with people and problems, they can understand motives, actions and the meanings attached to them. As a result, compared to other professions, they escape what we call the ���strait jacket� of society, they can see more, do more and generally think and perform more successfully.
Employers are rarely contented any more with employees who perform a job without an awareness of the importance of understanding human behaviour. All countries are facing difficult economic times and will continue to face growing competition, in an ironic way it is these pressures that are creating more opportunities for the social scientific perspective. If there is enough Social Scientific awareness and sensitivity in the world we may hope that future generations benefit from our educational foresight.
Excerpt adapted from Crisis and Opportunity in Education and Employment, International Foundation ARLT Berlin.