Does Studying Fine Art = Unemployment? Introducing LinkedIn's Field of Study Explorer

July 28, 2014

We recently invited several high school students to LinkedIn’s campus to talk to us about how they are navigating their search for the right University. While each student had a unique story, and faced their own set of challenges when deciding where to go, what to study and how to think about their future careers, one story really jumped out. Candice is a junior in high school who has dreamed of studying art for as long as she can remember. However, as she kicks into high gear with her college search, she keeps hearing some version of this: “If you choose to study fine art, you’ll never get a job!” Despite her clear talent and passion for art, she’s leaning towards business instead because she’s been told that it will lead to a more lucrative career.

But is this true? Is Candice really doomed to be unemployed if she studies fine art?

Today, we are pleased to announce a new product – Field of Study Explorer – designed to help students like Candice explore the wide range of careers LinkedIn members have pursued based on what they studied in school.

So let’s explore the validity of this assumption: studying fine art = unemployment by looking at the careers of members who studied Fine & Studio Arts at Universities around the world. Are they all starving artists who live in their parents’ basements?

fine and studio arts

Right off the bat, you’ll see that more than 294,000 LinkedIn members studied Fine Art. The five interactive graphs at the top of the page show you:

  • Where they work
  • What they do
  • Where they went to school
  • Where they live
  • How you are connected

Looking at the results under “Where they work,” it turns out that well-known companies, like Apple, actually employ people who studied Fine Arts. There are also a good number employed at Target and Starbucks, but what type of work are they doing there?

Let’s take a look. Click on the blue bars for “Starbucks” and “Target” to see what these employees do for a living:

fine and studio arts narrowed

Look at the titles: Senior Designer, Sr. Design Manager, Creative Director, Brand Specialist. Many of these are senior roles at Target and Starbucks directly leveraging the skills they gained in their Fine Arts educations.

So whether they studied Computer Science or Philosophy, Journalism or Theater – you’ll find that LinkedIn members have forged satisfying and highly personalized careers from a wide variety of educational starting points.

The real professional outcomes might surprise you

Like “Fine Art,” there are a number of other Fields of Study that may make parents scratch their heads or quake in their boots. Take a look and see if the actual career outcomes for fields of study like Philosophy, Theater, Romance Languages, Gunsmithing and Aquaculture match your expectations, or offer some surprises.

To explore the career outcomes of more than 1600 Fields of Study from universities around the world, click the “Explore More” button in the upper right-hand corner of any Field of Study Explorer page.

fields of study explorer

Browse the options, or type the name of a Field of Study that most interests you.