In today’s Australian Financial Review there was an advertisement for the Reserve Bank of Australia’s Graduate Programme. What struck me was that the Bank was recruiting for graduates with degrees in Accounting, Economics, Finance, Information Technology, Science and Engineering. In other words all degrees bar Medicine, Law, and Arts.
Law and Medical graduates usually are included in other lists of ‘suitable’ degrees in various graduate programmes. But what about those from Arts and Social Sciences? Why are they almost always excluded in Australia?
It is because we do not value a liberal arts education. It is because we do not value the social sciences. This is a testament to the lack of creativity, innovation, dynamism and cognitive diversity that exists in Australia, which also extends to her recruitment practices. Why is it that an Arts and Social Science graduate is barred from applying for graduate roles with the Reserve Bank of Australia? In fact this is true throughout most commercial banks and other corporates. They value sociological diversity over cognitive diversity. They want people to look different, but think the same.
This is not the case in Europe. I met many interesting people with diverse degrees working for large commercial banks and with the energy supermajors. And many of the more interesting ones were from the Social Sciences.
I have always believed that it is not the degree you do, but what you do with the degree. It seems that in Australia we are restricted in what we can do. Because of the short-sighted recruitment practices of the major corporates. This is why we are called an “intellectual wasteland.” A graduate should not be restricted on what degree they did. A graduate programme should include all graduates. But I guess Australia is just too backward to fully understand this. But we live in hope.