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学文科只能拿低薪?不一定

Gwen Moran 2020年01月14日

人文学科专业的毕业生和其他学科毕业生的就业机会差不多。

图片来源:David L. Ryan—The Boston Globe via Getty Images

根据美国全国广播公司财经频道(CNBC)2019年7月的一项调查,大多数美国人(64%)认为,只要学生不背负太多债务,大学学位就物有所值。根据大学委员会的数据,随着大学学费和其他费用上涨,2018-2019学年,四年制私立大学的平均费用为36,880美元,四年制公立大学为26,820美元。根据美国劳工统计局的数据,学士学位获得者平均每周收入的中位数为1,198美元。

因此,在计算一个学位是否“物有所值”时,肯定会把投资回报率纳入到算式中。但是学生们使用的数据可能并不完整。

对于那些希望“跟着钱走”的人来说,科学、技术、工程学和数学学位确实可以提供一条通往高薪工作的道路。根据PayScale 2019年大学薪资报告,在职业中期薪资最高的学士学位包括:

石油工程:176,900美元

电气工程和计算机科学:142,200美元

应用经济学和管理学:140,000万美元

运营研究:137,100美元

政治经济学:136,200美元。

然而,这些学科领域并不能完全反映学生们的选择。国家教育统计中心(National Center for Education Statistics)的最新数据显示,在2016-2017学年,共授予了200多万学士学位,其中超过一半集中在五个学科领域,包括:

商业:38.1万个学位

医疗专业及相关领域:23.8万个学位

社会科学与历史:15.9万个学位

心理学:11.7万个学位

生物和生物医学:11.7万个学位

其次是工程学、传播学/新闻学、视觉和表演艺术以及教育学。因此,当思考哪些本科专业可能会带来高薪职业时,英语、历史、社会学、外语等人文学科可能不会立刻浮现在人们的脑海中。但这可能是被误导了。

美国艺术与科学学院华盛顿办公室主任罗伯特·B·汤森德说,人文学科专业的毕业生和其他学科就业机会差不多。他说:“人们印象里总觉得这些毕业生都深陷债务,不得不去咖啡馆作吧员,生活潦倒,毫不快乐,事实显然并非如此。”

虽然市场对19世纪英国文学专家不会有太大需求,但这些课程培养的写作、分析、理解和批判性思维等技能在工作中十分重要。PayScale的数据表明,在一些职业中期薪酬中位数较高的行业,英语及相关专业毕业生的比例很高,比如宣传总监(83,100美元)、报价经理(83,000美元)和内容营销经理(72,400美元)。

学习一门外语?根据美国新经济2017年的一份报告,在2010年至2015年间,对双语工作者的需求翻了一番。最受欢迎的语言是西班牙语、阿拉伯语和汉语。超过三分之一的美国银行招聘的职位需要双语员工。

此外,PayScale的研究主管苏达山·萨姆帕斯表示,人文专业培养的许多技能也会对薪资产生积极影响。例如,根据PayScale的数据,写作技能可以把行政岗位的工资提升提高8%,而战略性思考和计划的能力可以对工资产生3%至9%的提升。

即使学位本身与工作或薪水没有直接关系,人文专业也可以拥有关键性优势。萨姆帕斯和他的团队梳理了数据,发现人文学科培养的有关技能需求紧俏,而且可以转移——这是根据未来就业前景选择学科时的两大重要因素,他说。

萨姆帕斯说:“我们之前的研究发现,很多被雇主看重的东西并不一定是硬技术。你可以在大学毕业后的第一份工作或第一次实习中学到这些技术。你真正要学的是如何工作、如何学习。”

PayScale的工作可转移性排名显示,任何得分超过1.82的学科就业选择都十分广阔。人文学科排名第三,得分5.57。只有商科(5.86)和社会科学(5.85)得分更高。

而且,人们在讨论各学科学位的投资回报时,常常会忽略满意度,人文学科在这点上表现出色。美国艺术与科学学院2018年的一份报告显示,人文学科学生的满意度几乎可以与其他任何学科的学生相媲美。87%拥有人文学科学士学位的员工表示,他们对2015年的工作感到满意。

汤森德说:“我们不是要给人文专业的学生打气。”但他强调,这些精妙而又转换度高的学位拥有光明的前景,尤其是现在的市场越来越重视软技能和沟通能力。(财富中文网)

译者:Agatha

The majority of Americans (64%) thinks that getting a college degree is worth the money as long as the student doesn’t incur in too much debt, according to a July 2019 CNBC survey. The cost of college tuition and fees rose to an average of $36,880 for private, four-year institutions and $26,820 for public four-year institutions during the 2018-2019 school year, according to The College Board —and according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average weekly median income of bachelor’s degree recipients is $1,198.

So, a degree’s return on investment definitely factors into the “worth it” equation. But students may be working with incomplete data.

For those who wish to “follow the money”, STEM degrees do provide a path to lucrative employment. According to PayScale’s College Salary Report 2019, the bachelor’s degrees with the highest mid-career pay included:

Petroleum engineering: $176,900

Electrical engineering and computer science: $142,200

Applied economics and management: $140,000

Operations research: $137,100

Political economy: $136,200.

However, those fields of study don’t exactly mirror the degree choices students are making. The latest data from the National Center for Education Statistics found that, during the 2016-2017 academic year, of the more than 2 million bachelor’s degrees conferred, more than half concentrated in five fields of study, including:

Business: 381,000 degrees

Health professions and related fields: 238,000 degrees

Social sciences and history:159,000 degrees

Psychology: 117,000 degrees

Biological and biomedical sciences: 117,000 degrees

The next largest numbers of degrees conferred were in engineering, communication/journalism, visual and performing arts, and education. So, when it comes to choosing undergraduate majors that may lead to high-paying careers, humanities disciplines like (English, history, sociology, foreign languages, etc.) may not immediately spring to mind. But that may be misguided.

Robert B. Townsend, director of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences Washington, D.C. office, says that humanities majors secure jobs at pretty much the same rate as other people with degrees. “It’s certainly not in line with that picture that gives you the impression that they’re all baristas drowning in debt, and miserable and unhappy,” he says.

While there may not be an onslaught of demand for 19th century English literature experts, the writing, analysis, comprehension, and critical thinking skills developed in such courses of study are valued in the workplace. PayScale’s data found that some fields with lucrative levels of mid-career median pay hire a high percentage of English and related majors, such as communications director ($83,100), proposal manager ($83,000), and content marketing manager ($72,400).

Studying a foreign language? The demand for bilingual workers doubled between 2010 and 2015, according to a 2017 report by New American Economy. The top languages in demand were Spanish, Arabic, and Chinese. More than one-third of Bank of America’s advertised positions called for bi-lingual workers.

In addition, many of the skills humanities majors develop can also have a positive impact on pay, says Sudarshan Sampath, director of research at PayScale. For example, writing skills can boost pay in administrative jobs 8% while the ability to think and plan strategically can have a 3 to 9% impact on salary, according to PayScale data.

And even when there’s not a direct correlation between the degree itself and the job or salary, humanities majors may have key advantages. Sampath and his team combed over their data and found that the skills developed in humanities disciplines are in demand and transferable —two important factors when choosing a degree based on future employment prospects, he says.

“We’ve seen this in previous research that a lot of things that employers are looking for are not necessarily hard technical skills,” says Sampath. “You can learn those in your first job outside of college or in your first internship. What you really want to pick up is actually how to work and how to learn,” he says.

PayScale’s job transferability rankings state that any degree that scores more than 1.82 on its index has a wide range of career options. Humanities degrees are the third most transferable, scoring a 5.57. Only business (5.86) and social sciences (5.85) scored better.

And, while the satisfaction element often gets lost in the degree ROI discussion, humanities have a strong selling point here. A 2018 report by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences found that humanities majors reported satisfaction levels comparable to virtually every other field. Eighty-seven percent of all workers with a bachelor’s degree in the humanities reported they were satisfied with their job in 2015.

“Our job isn’t to throw sunshine at the humanities majors,” Townsend says. But, he emphasizes that the outlook for people with these nuanced, yet highly transferrable degrees is strong, especially in a market that is increasingly valuing soft skills and communication ability, he adds.

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