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學文科只能拿低薪?不一定

Gwen Moran 2020年01月14日

人文學科專業的畢業生和其他學科畢業生的就業機會差不多。

圖片來源:David L. Ryan—The Boston Globe via Getty Images

根據美國全國廣播公司財經頻道(CNBC)2019年7月的一項調查,大多數美國人(64%)認為,只要學生不背負太多債務,大學學位就物有所值。根據大學委員會的數據,隨著大學學費和其他費用上漲,2018-2019學年,四年制私立大學的平均費用為36,880美元,四年制公立大學為26,820美元。根據美國勞工統計局的數據,學士學位獲得者平均每周收入的中位數為1,198美元。

因此,在計算一個學位是否“物有所值”時,肯定會把投資回報率納入到算式中。但是學生們使用的數據可能并不完整。

對于那些希望“跟著錢走”的人來說,科學、技術、工程學和數學學位確實可以提供一條通往高薪工作的道路。根據PayScale 2019年大學薪資報告,在職業中期薪資最高的學士學位包括:

石油工程:176,900美元

電氣工程和計算機科學:142,200美元

應用經濟學和管理學:140,000萬美元

運營研究:137,100美元

政治經濟學:136,200美元。

然而,這些學科領域并不能完全反映學生們的選擇。國家教育統計中心(National Center for Education Statistics)的最新數據顯示,在2016-2017學年,共授予了200多萬學士學位,其中超過一半集中在五個學科領域,包括:

商業:38.1萬個學位

醫療專業及相關領域:23.8萬個學位

社會科學與歷史:15.9萬個學位

心理學:11.7萬個學位

生物和生物醫學:11.7萬個學位

其次是工程學、傳播學/新聞學、視覺和表演藝術以及教育學。因此,當思考哪些本科專業可能會帶來高薪職業時,英語、歷史、社會學、外語等人文學科可能不會立刻浮現在人們的腦海中。但這可能是被誤導了。

美國藝術與科學學院華盛頓辦公室主任羅伯特·B·湯森德說,人文學科專業的畢業生和其他學科就業機會差不多。他說:“人們印象里總覺得這些畢業生都深陷債務,不得不去咖啡館作吧員,生活潦倒,毫不快樂,事實顯然并非如此?!?

雖然市場對19世紀英國文學專家不會有太大需求,但這些課程培養的寫作、分析、理解和批判性思維等技能在工作中十分重要。PayScale的數據表明,在一些職業中期薪酬中位數較高的行業,英語及相關專業畢業生的比例很高,比如宣傳總監(83,100美元)、報價經理(83,000美元)和內容營銷經理(72,400美元)。

學習一門外語?根據美國新經濟2017年的一份報告,在2010年至2015年間,對雙語工作者的需求翻了一番。最受歡迎的語言是西班牙語、阿拉伯語和漢語。超過三分之一的美國銀行招聘的職位需要雙語員工。

此外,PayScale的研究主管蘇達山·薩姆帕斯表示,人文專業培養的許多技能也會對薪資產生積極影響。例如,根據PayScale的數據,寫作技能可以把行政崗位的工資提升提高8%,而戰略性思考和計劃的能力可以對工資產生3%至9%的提升。

即使學位本身與工作或薪水沒有直接關系,人文專業也可以擁有關鍵性優勢。薩姆帕斯和他的團隊梳理了數據,發現人文學科培養的有關技能需求緊俏,而且可以轉移——這是根據未來就業前景選擇學科時的兩大重要因素,他說。

薩姆帕斯說:“我們之前的研究發現,很多被雇主看重的東西并不一定是硬技術。你可以在大學畢業后的第一份工作或第一次實習中學到這些技術。你真正要學的是如何工作、如何學習?!?

PayScale的工作可轉移性排名顯示,任何得分超過1.82的學科就業選擇都十分廣闊。人文學科排名第三,得分5.57。只有商科(5.86)和社會科學(5.85)得分更高。

而且,人們在討論各學科學位的投資回報時,常常會忽略滿意度,人文學科在這點上表現出色。美國藝術與科學學院2018年的一份報告顯示,人文學科學生的滿意度幾乎可以與其他任何學科的學生相媲美。87%擁有人文學科學士學位的員工表示,他們對2015年的工作感到滿意。

湯森德說:“我們不是要給人文專業的學生打氣?!钡麖娬{,這些精妙而又轉換度高的學位擁有光明的前景,尤其是現在的市場越來越重視軟技能和溝通能力。(財富中文網)

譯者: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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