5 Degrees with Low Employment Prospects in South Africa

In the modern era, a university degree is often viewed as a pathway to a successful career. However, it is essential to note that not all degrees guarantee job security or high income. Given the current employment landscape in South Africa, some degrees have been identified as leading to lower employment prospects compared to others. This doesn’t necessarily mean these fields are unimportant, but it’s a reflection of the current job market dynamics.

Please note that this list is not exhaustive and does not mean that obtaining a degree in these areas will guarantee unemployment. It merely suggests that the job market for these fields might be more challenging, and graduates may need to be more flexible and creative in their job search. The degrees include:

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#1 Philosophy Degree:

Philosophy is a highly enriching and intellectually stimulating field of study. However, its graduates can struggle to find employment directly related to their field of study. Many philosophy graduates often end up pursuing careers in other areas, like law, business, or education.

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Example: A Philosophy graduate might have deep analytical and critical thinking skills, but these abilities don’t translate into a specific job role in most industries. For instance, while they can analyze complex ideas, there may not be direct openings for ‘philosophers’ in companies. Thus, they often pivot to careers in law, where analytical skills are prized, or in business, where strategic thinking is crucial.

#2 Fine Arts Degree:

While the study of Fine Arts nurtures creativity and develops many transferable skills, the unfortunate reality is that finding a stable, lucrative job directly related to this field can be challenging in South Africa. Many artists have to supplement their income with other jobs while they develop their portfolios.

Example: A Fine Arts graduate specializing in painting may find limited galleries or buyers in South Africa to sustain a steady income. Therefore, they might have to work in graphic design or teach art classes to supplement their income, while they work on personal art projects or exhibitions, which don’t guarantee a stable income.

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# 3 Anthropology Degree:

Anthropology graduates often face a similar challenge to philosophy students. While they gain valuable skills in understanding human behavior, these skills often do not translate directly into specific job roles, making the job search more challenging.

Example: Anthropologists have a deep understanding of cultures and societies, but jobs requiring this specialization are not abundant in South Africa. A graduate might end up applying their knowledge in market research or cultural consultancy, which are not directly related to Anthropology but leverage their understanding of human behavior.

# 4 Literature Degree:

As with the other degrees listed, a degree in Literature can be very fulfilling and intellectually rewarding. However, finding a job directly related to this degree can be challenging. Many Literature graduates often find employment in fields like education, journalism, or communications.

Example: A Literature graduate has excellent writing and critical thinking skills. However, finding a role that requires these skills but is directly related to Literature, like a professional novelist or literary critic, is challenging. They might find more opportunities in journalism or communications, where they can use their writing skills in a broader context.

# 5 History Degree:

While a History degree offers invaluable insights into our past and develops critical thinking skills, it may not directly lead to high-demand occupations in South Africa. Most History graduates end up working in fields like education, research, and public policy.

Example: History graduates are adept at research and understanding historical contexts. However, jobs in historical research or as historians are limited. Most find roles in education, teaching history, or in public policy, where they can apply their skills in understanding societal developments and contexts.

It is crucial to consider the employment prospects of a degree before investing in it. However, remember that having a passion for your field of study can often lead to unforeseen opportunities and careers. It’s also worth noting that many successful people have built their careers in areas not directly related to their original field of study. Therefore, when choosing a degree, consider both your passion and the prospective job opportunities.

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