FlyTitle: Bartleby

Some unfortunate mismatches in young people’s job preferences and prospects

年轻人的工作偏好和工作前景之间遗憾地存在一些不匹配

经济学人双语版-青少年的选择 Teenage picks

THE WORLD of work is changing. Are people ready for the new job outlook? A survey of 15-year-olds across 41 countries by the OECD, a club of mostly rich countries, found that teenagers may have unrealistic expectations about the kind of work that will be available.

工作的天地正在改变。人们是否已准备好迎接新的工作前景?成员主要为富裕国家的经合组织(OECD)调查41个国家的15岁青少年发现,青少年可能对未来可供自己选择的工作种类抱有不切实际的预期。

Four of the five most popular choices were traditional professional roles: doctors, teachers, business managers and lawyers. Teenagers clustered around the most popular jobs, with the top ten being chosen by 47% of boys and 53% of girls. Those shares were significantly higher than when the survey was conducted back in 2000.

五个最受欢迎的选择中有四个是传统的职业角色:医生、教师、企业管理者和律师。青少年的选择集中在那些最热门的工作上,47%的男孩和53%的女孩选择了排名前十的职业。这两个比例明显高于2000年做调查时得出的数字。

The rationale for this selection was partly down to wishful thinking on the part of those surveyed (designers, actors and musical performers were three of the top 15 jobs). Youth must be allowed a bit of hope. When Bartleby was a teenager, his ambitions were to play cricket for England and become prime minister; neither ambition was achieved (a lucky escape for the country on both counts).

这种选择结果的部分原因是受调查者的一厢情愿(设计师、演员和音乐表演者位列最热门的15个职业)。总归得让年轻人怀揣一些希望嘛。本专栏作者十几岁时立志为英格兰板球队效力,并成为首相,结果壮志未酬(从哪一方面来看英国都是幸免于难)。

Furthermore, teenagers can hardly be expected to have an in-depth knowledge of the minutiae of labour-market trends. They will have encountered doctors and teachers in their daily lives. Other popular professions, such as lawyers and police officers, will be familiar from films and social media. But many people end up in jobs they would not have heard of in their school years. You settle for what is available.

再者,很难指望青少年能深入了解劳动力市场趋势的细微之处。他们在日常生活中会接触到医生和老师,通过电影和社交媒体熟悉其他受欢迎的职业,如律师和警察。但许多人最终都从事了他们上学时听都没听过的工作。能有碗饭吃就不错了。

The OECD points out that some of the fastest-growing occupations are rarely mentioned by young people. But surely the surprise is not that “user support technician” is ranked only 158th out of 543 professions and “computer user support specialist” appears in 229th place. Rather, it is astonishing that young people know that such jobs exist at all.

经合组织指出,一些岗位增长最快的职业很少被年轻人提及。但令人惊讶的肯定不是“用户支持技术人员”在543个职业中仅排名第158位,“计算机用户支持专员”排在第229位,而是年轻人居然知道这些工种的存在。

At least teenagers who want to tackle climate change, as many profess to, are in luck. America’s Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) predicts that the two fastest-growing occupations over the next few years will be solar-photovoltaic installers and wind-turbine technicians.

至少那些想要解决气候变化问题的青少年(很多人都这么宣称)运气不错。美国劳工统计局预测,未来几年增长最快的两个职业将是太阳能光伏安装人员和风机技术人员。

Some parts of the OECD survey are disturbing. Even though top performers in maths or science are evenly matched among males and females, a gender gap persists in terms of aspiration. More boys than girls expect to work in science or engineering—the average gap across the OECD is more than ten percentage points. The problem continues in higher education; with the exception of biological and biomedical sciences, degrees in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) are male-dominated. In America women earn just 35.5% of undergraduate STEM degrees and 33.7% of PhDs.

这项调查的某些发现令人不安。尽管在数学或科学上表现最优的男女生人数不相上下,但不同性别在志向上仍存在差异。想要从事科学或工程类工作的男孩比女孩多——经合组织各成员国的平均差距超过了10个百分点。这个问题在高等教育中持续:除生物和生物医学外,STEM学科(科学、技术、工程和数学)的学位获得者多为男性。在美国,仅有35.5%的STEM本科学位和33.7%的STEM博士学位由女性获得。

Things are even worse in technology. In Britain only one in five computer-science university students is a woman—a big problem at a time when the World Economic Forum predicts that technology will create more than a quarter of all jobs in newly emerging professions. But women are underrepresented in some important fields of technology; they have only 12% of jobs in cloud computing, for example. Something about the tech industry puts off female applicants.

技术领域的情况还要更糟。在英国,计算机科学专业大学生中仅五分之一是女性。这在当下是个大问题——据世界经济论坛预测,技术领域将创造超过四分之一的新兴职业岗位。但女性在一些重要的技术领域人数占比很低,比如她们目前仅占云计算职位的12%。技术行业的某些特点令女性申请者意兴阑珊。

Women play a much bigger role in the health- and social-care sectors, which are also poised for expansion. The BLS forecasts that eight of the 12 fastest-growing jobs in America over the next few years will be in those areas, with roles ranging from occupational-therapy assistants to genetic counsellors. The snag is that some of these jobs are not very well paid. Home-health and personal-care aides (with the third- and fourth-fastest growth rates, respectively) had median annual salaries in 2018 of just over $24,000.

女性在医疗和社会照护部门发挥的作用要大得多,这些部门也呈扩张之势。美国劳工统计局预测,未来几年美国12个岗位增长最快的工种有八个来自这些领域,其中包括作业疗法(OT)助理和遗传咨询师等。问题是其中某些岗位没什么“钱途”。家庭保健助理和个护助理(岗位增速分列第三和第四)在2018年的年薪中位数略高于2.4万美元。

Some jobs in health care are extremely lucrative, of course. But another gender imbalance emerges here: women make up only one-third of American health-care executives. In contrast, they tend to dominate the poorly paid social-care workforce. In Britain 83% of social-care workers are female. That suggests men shun the field, perhaps because they do not perceive caring to be a masculine trait.

当然,医疗领域的某些工作薪资极为丰厚。但在这里再次出现了性别失衡:女性仅占美国医疗行业高管的三分之一。相比之下,她们往往是低薪的社会照护工作的主力。英国83%的社会照护工作者是女性。这显示出男性回避这个领域,也许是因为他们觉得照顾别人这件事不能彰显男子气概。

The biggest problem in the labour market, then, may not be that teenagers are focusing on a few well-known jobs. It could be a mismatch: not enough talented women move into technology and not enough men take jobs in social care. Any economist will recognise this as an inefficient use of resources. Wherever the root of the problem lies—be it the education system, government policy or corporate recruiting practices—it needs to be identified and fixed.

如此看来,劳动力市场上最大的问题可能并非青少年盯着少数众所周知的工作,而可能是一种不匹配:没有足够的杰出女性进入技术领域,也没有足够的男性从事社会照护工作。任何一位经济学家都会认识到这是对资源的低效利用。无论问题的根源在哪里——是教育系统、政府政策还是企业招聘操作——都需要把它找出来解决。