Jim Armitage: Arts graduates and the lure of Procol Harum

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The Independent Online

Outlook A cheer goes up in the newsroom. Research has just shown that humanities graduates do contribute greatly to the economy.

We sensitive arts grads may at last hold our heads high against the scorn of the scientists and engineers who sneer at our flowery qualifications.

The evidence is there for all to see: by 1989, 16 to 20 per cent of humanities types were employed in the boom sectors of finance, media, legal services and management – a proportion that "rose substantially between 1960 and 1989."

But hang on. "Rose substantially?" What does that mean? "Between 1960 and 1989?" That was (reaches for calculator due to lack of arithmetical training) 24 years ago. And, hang on, "finance?" didn't that sector just bring the economy to the brink of collapse? And, while we're at it, "16 to 20 per cent"? What are the remaining four in five of this bunch doing, then? Sitting around listening to Procol Harum?

No prizes for guessing who came up with this so-called "research". A humanities professor, of course. Should have got a scientist to do it.