Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Worst investment for a career

Some careers just aren't going to make you rich. CNN Money has the goods on 'Big Jobs That Pay Badly.' Figuring highly on their list are the jobs of architect, chef, and academic research scientist.

"There are some jobs," they say, "you should take only if you really love the work because the investment you make to get the job and the hours you keep aren't necessarily commensurate with what you earn."

Tell me about it. The figures quoted are American, which probably overstates what these careers are worth in New Zealand.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Ruth said...

Well I'm really surprised to read that. I always thought of architects as being somewhat elitist and expensive.

So I guess you should put your pom-poms down and go back to work Peter ;-)

8/17/2005 01:47:00 pm  
Anonymous Hong said...

That's precisely why most of the academic research jobs are taken by the foreigners. The consequence of this is that most American kids have no interest in science at all.

8/17/2005 02:56:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

"I always thought of architects as being somewhat elitist and expensive."

Hahahahaha. Most people building a new house spend more on their curtains than they do on their architect. Of course, most architects dont deserve any more than that (as I'm sure Mark was just about to say. :-) )

"That's precisely why most of the academic research jobs are taken by the foreigners."

In the US I'm sure that's true, as you would know Hong.

"The consequence of this is that most American kids have no interest in science at all."

Now that is worrying too. What exactly ~are~ they interested in??

"So I guess you should put your pom-poms down and go back to work Peter."

Yes. Good point. :^P

8/17/2005 04:18:00 pm  
Blogger Brian S said...

Try being a Psychonaut exploring "the further reaches of experience"! Ain't gonna get you shit, except maybe a jail sentence :)

8/17/2005 06:19:00 pm  
Blogger Icehawk said...

How odd: a poster example of the inefficiencies of the free market, displayed on a libertarian website.

I speak, of course, of the market in tertiary education.

A loan-assisted free market in tertiary education assumes that 17yr olds are able to rationally assess the costs and benefits of different types of degrees - and so decide if they should start a $50,000 course or not.

But there's vast evidence that they can't make rational choices about that.

We could go into details about human irrationality, and what that means for social policy, but lets talk about information and markets instead.

A free market only works well when there is good information. That's why you can't get a good price for a used car even if it's in good condition and was new 6 weeks ago: you know whether or not it's a lemon but the buyer doesn't, which makes the market inefficient.

But it's actually quite hard to get good information about career outcomes with various qualifications. You need a vast data set, and it's a lot of work to get the results.

Which means that the most important market we have, the career/tertiary education market, performs poorly.

Look at the kids with so-so academic backgrounds doing the $80,000 pilot training course at Massey: an architect will earn more than they will when they get a job pilotting flights from Wellington to Nelson.

There are ways to make free markets work better, by ensuring information to market participants. Most of these involve govt intervention. But that's okay because one of the key function of govt is making markets work better.

Truth-in-advertising laws are a way that govts help markets work by guaranteeing quality of information. Of course, many libertarians don't like such laws (they restrict free speech!).

Likewise the Labour Dept is planning to get into place a career guidance service that will help you estimate how much a qualification will be worth to you. But libertarians will _certainly_ oppose that.

My point, of course, is that liking market solutions and free-market economics doesn't make one a libertarian. Quite the opposite.

8/18/2005 03:47:00 pm  

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