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文科生收入增长需放眼长远

更新时间:2014-1-27 22:10:16 来源:华尔街日报中文网 作者:佚名

Liberal Arts Salaries Are a Marathon, Not a Sprint
文科生收入增长需放眼长远

It's no secret that recent graduates with degrees in the liberal arts are out-earned by most of their classmates. But in the long run, they catch up to at least some of their peers.

Humanities and social sciences students, for example, make 84% as much as professional and pre-professional students like nurses and criminologists at ages 21-25--but they pull in about $2,000 more during their peak earning years from 56-60 ($66,185 compared with $64,149).

Those numbers come courtesy of a new report by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, a group that advocates for a broad-based undergraduate liberal-arts education. The AAC&U studied more than 3 million responses to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2010 and 2011 American Community Survey, and earnings are reported in 2011 dollars.

'The perception of a lot of people is if you major in business, you're guaranteed to do well and if you major in English, you're guaranteed not to do well,' says Debra Humphries, vice president for policy and public engagement at AAC&U. But in the long term, those lines blur.

'It's the difference between a 50-yard dash and a marathon,' says Katharine Brooks, executive director for personal and career development at Wake Forest University. It might take liberal arts students a little longer to settle on a particular career path than it does graduates who were gunning for accounting or nursing jobs from freshman year, but they often take similar jobs in the end, including in finance, education and social work.

Another reason liberal arts graduates end up closing the gap with pre-professional students: Forty percent of humanities and social sciences students ultimately go on to graduate school, with 9% headed to professional degree programs like M.B.A.s and law school, according to the AAC&U report, while just 30% of professional and pre-professional students do (and only 4% get professional degrees).

Still, English majors might not want to jump for joy, at least not if they're standing next to engineers.

By the time they hit their peak earning years between 56 and 60, no matter whether they stopped after four years of college or continued on to master's or doctoral programs, liberal arts students can expect median annual pay of $66,185 -- just two-thirds of the income that engineering graduates see. (That's not much better than when they were back in their early 20s, earning about 63% as much.)

And even though they brought home more bacon than physical, natural sciences and math students right out of school, humanities and social sciences graduates were making just 76% as much as lab rats by their late 50s.

众所周知,文科毕业生在工作之初比大多数同学赚得都少。然而放眼长远就会发现,他们至少能追赶上一些其他专业的同学。

举个例子,21至25岁的人文科学、社会科学学生收入是受专业和如护士和犯罪学等预备专业教育的同龄人收入的84%。但在收入“巅峰”年龄(56至60岁)的人文社科毕业生的收入为66,185美元,较后者(64,149美元)多了大概2,000美元。

上述数据援引自美国学院及大学协会(Association of American Colleges and Universities, 简称AAC&U)的一项新的报告。该协会旨在推广大学文科教育。AAC&U对美国人口普查局(Census Bureau) 2010年和2011年美国社区调查(American Community Survey)收集到的超过300万分回覆进行研究,报告中的收入数据以2011年的美元价值为准。

AAC&U策略与公共事务副总裁汉弗莱斯(Debra Humphries)说:很多人认为主修商科就肯定赚得多,主修英语就肯定赚得少。但从长远来看,这种界限会淡去。

韦克福里斯特大学(Wake Forest University)个人及职业发展执行董事布鲁克斯(Katharine Brooks)说,这就像是50米跑和马拉松之间的区别。和那些从大一开始就确定要从事会计或护理工作的毕业生比起来,文科生可能多需要一些时间才能确定一条自己的职业发展路径,但这两种人最终常常走入相似的工作岗位,例如金融、教育和社会工作。

还有一个原因也解释了文科毕业生为何能追上预备专业教育毕业生的收入水平。根据AAC&U的报告,人文社科类学生中有40%最终会进入研究生院深造,其中有9%会攻读工商管理学、法学等专业学位,而只有30%的专业教育生和预备专业教育生会去读研(且只有4%修得专业学位)。

尽管如此,英语专业学生最好还是别太高兴,尤其是如果身边有工程师在的话。

56至60岁收入巅峰期的文科生(无论是只有四年本科学位还是攻读了硕士、博士学位)的年收入中值为66,185美元,然而这仅为工程学毕业生薪资的三分之二。20岁出头的文科生的收入也仅是同年龄层工程学学生收入的63%。

而尽管文科生刚毕业时的收入要多于物理、自然科学和数学学生,等到年近60岁时,他们的收入仅为后者的76%。

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