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2014-06-09    来源:fortune    【      美国外教 在线口语培训


No question about it, the graduating class of 2014 -- and their nervous parents -- are getting bombarded with mixed signals about the market for entry-level talent.

On the one hand, hiring seems to be picking up: The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) reports that companies plan to bring on 8.6% more new grads than last year, and at slightly higher salaries, averaging $45,473 (up 1.2% from 2013).

At the same time, though, more worrisome studies say that, in the aftermath of the recession, about 1 in 10 American college graduates in their twenties have become so discouraged trying to find work that they've left the workforce altogether, and are neither job hunting nor in school. That grim view is based on Bureau of Labor Statistics figures showing labor force participation among 20-to-24-year-olds at about 70%, down from just over 78% before the downturn.
与此同时,更令人担忧的研究显示,拜经济衰退的余波所赐,许多美国大学毕业生在就业市场屡屡碰壁,以至于失去了求职的勇气。大约有十分之一的毕业生已经彻底告别劳动力市场。这些二十来岁的年轻人现在既不找工作,也没有继续留校深造。这个严峻的观点依据的是美国劳工统计局(Bureau of Labor Statistics)的数据。这些数据显示,20至24岁年轻人的劳动参与率经济衰退前将将超过78%,如今下降到了70%左右。

That would be cause for alarm, if it were true. But is it? A big chunk of the workforce these days is made up of freelancers and contract workers, estimated by the General Accounting Office to number about 42 million people of all ages. The U.S. Department of Labor projects that will grow to 65 million in the next five years. Yet federal employment statistics usually either overlook this shadow army of workers completely or mistakenly classify them as unemployed because they don't hold traditional full-time jobs.
如果数据真实,它足以引发恐慌。但果真如此吗?目前有很大一部分劳动力是由自由职业者和合同工组成。根据美国审计署(General Accounting Office)估计,这类劳动力涵盖所有年龄段,大约有4,200万。美国劳工部预测称,这个群体在未来5年将增至6,500万人。但一般情况下,联邦就业数据要么完全忽略这群影子劳动力大军,要么错误地把他们归类为失业组别,因为他们没有传统的全职工作。

Plenty of contract workers are in their 20s or early 30s. That's a clue as to the whereabouts of many of the Millennials thought to have dropped out of the workforce, of course. But it's also, more subtly, a challenge to employers looking for skilled entry-level workers for full-time management-track jobs. Now, recruiting twenty-somethings doesn't just mean competing with other traditional employers. It also means competing against what many Millennials see as a more flexible, more interesting way to work.

Consider, for example, Lionbridge Technologies. The firm, headquartered in Waltham, Mass., connects freelance engineers, translators, and other skilled contractors with big clients like Dell, Pfizer (PFE), Microsoft (MSFT), and General Motors (GM) who need to staff specialized, short-term projects. More than half (53%) of Lionbridge's 100,000 contractors are Millennials. Over 90% of them hold bachelor's or master's degrees.
我们不妨以莱博智科技公司(Lionbridge Technologies)为例。这家总部位于马萨诸塞州沃尔瑟姆的公司的工作是在自由职业的工程师、翻译和其他技术合同工与戴尔(Dell)、辉瑞制药(Pfizer),微软(Microsoft)和通用汽车(General Motors)这类需要人手从事专业化短期项目的大客户之间建立联系。在10万名与莱博智科技签约的合同工中,有超过一半(53%)是千禧一代,其中九成以上拥有学士或硕士学位。

Most of Lionbridge's freelancers, especially its engineers and other tech workers, work 30 or 40 hours a week, but often do tasks for several employers at once, says CEO Rory Cowan. He thinks the challenge and variety appeal to people in their twenties who, perhaps having seen their parents laid off two or three times, tend to balk at the idea of a full-time job at one company.

"The biggest attraction seems to be mobility," Cowan notes. "This generation is used to doing everything on laptops from anywhere, so why not work on a laptop too?" A laptop-toting contract worker, he adds, "can spend half the year in Colorado skiing" without worrying about the limits traditional employers put on vacation days: "All the assignments are project-based, so as long as you meet your deadlines, you can make your own schedule."

Of course, Lionbridge isn't the only company matching up freelancers with employers for short-term gigs. Elance.com, for one, says big outfits like Google (GOOG) and ESPN regularly tap its huge pool of freelancers, and Freelance.com claims over 2 million contractors in its database.

Moreover, Cowan points out that the advent of cloud computing has made these services even more efficient than in the past, so that "the nature of work is changing," he says. "People in their twenties expect more flexibility than their parents' generation did. They also see using their skills with more than one employer at a time as a natural extension of the 'sharing economy.'"

If the official employment figures ever start taking the nation's freelancers and contract workers into account, it's likely that many (if not most) of the Millennials who have supposedly dropped out of the workforce will magically reappear in the statistics. Meanwhile, for companies trying to recruit scarce talent in engineering and tech, one question: Can you build enough flexibility and variety into each job to make it more enticing than freelancing?

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