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Building competitiveness增强就业市场竞争力

天之聪教育 2012-06-19 未知 179次

Building competitiveness
增强就业市场竞争力

Insider aiding
适得其返


Europe’s labour markets have favoured older workers at the expense of younger ones. The latest in an occasional series on structural reform
欧洲劳动市场以牺牲年轻人的代价支持年长劳动者,这是结构性改革碰到的一系列最新结果。

 

 



OF ALL the euro zone’s many problems, youth unemployment is perhaps the most distressing. Joblessness among young workers is around 30% in Portugal and nearly 50% in Spain. Above-average unemployment is the norm for young people, even in more liberal markets like America’s. But Spain’s youth unemployment rate jumped by nearly 20 percentage points between 2007 and 2009, compared with a rise of seven points in America. Labour-market regulations take much of the blame: while hard-to-fire older workers luxuriate on permanent contracts, the young are typically hired temporarily and are easier to sack.
在所有欧元区国家的众多问题中,年轻人失业率高企或许是最令人沮丧的。葡萄牙年轻人失业率约为30%,而西班牙则近50%。对于年轻人来说,高于均值的失业率已是常态,即使是像美国这样更为自由的市场亦如是。但在2007年至2009年间,西班牙年轻人失业率跳涨近20%,而美国则上涨7%。劳动力市场法规要为此承担大部分责任:不易被解雇的年长劳动者享受着固定合约,而年轻人往往以临时工身份受雇,也就更易被解雇。

Such “dual” labour markets are themselves products of reform. Although American unemployment quickly dropped following the troubles of the 1970s and early 1980s, European joblessness remained stuck at high levels. Leaders recognised the need to inject more flexibility into the labour market but powerful trade unions headed off a full-frontal assault on workers’ rights. The answer was to create a less-protected class of employees.
这种“二元”劳动力市场就是改革自身的产物。尽管在上世纪七十年代和八十年代初经济陷入困境之后,美国失业率快速下滑,但欧洲失业率仍维持在高位。欧洲领导人意识到就业市场需要注入更多活力,但工会强大,阻挡了对劳动者权力的公然挑战。解决方式就是创建一批有较少保护的劳动力。

Spain’s experience is instructive. As the unemployment rate approached 20% in the mid-1980s, the government introduced fixed-term contracts of between six months and three years, which were subject to lower dismissal costs than those for workers on open-ended contracts. At the end of a three-year contract firms could either convert a worker to permanent employment or send him packing. The reforms got results. Unemployment fell from nearly 18% when they began in 1984 to around 14% six years later.
西班牙的经历颇具教育意义。当上世纪八十年代中期该国失业率接近20%时,西班牙政府引入了一种固定劳动合同,期限在六个月到三年之间,而这是由于签署这类合同劳动者的解雇成本要低于无固定期限劳动合同者。在三年期合同到期时,公司既可将这位员工转成固定雇员,也可将其解雇。这种改革起了作用。该国失业率从1984年改革开始时的近18%降至1990年的约14%。



But the reforms had unintended consequences too. Temporary contracts surged, soon accounting for close to a third of Spanish employment. Workers churned from job to job: just 6% of temporary contracts were converted to permanent employment during the mid-2000s. When the economy turned down employees were shed in larger numbers and the unemployment rate rose faster than before. Those more likely to be employed on temporary contracts, such as the young, bore the brunt of the pain. The euro zone’s long expansion from the mid-1990s until the crisis of 2008 disguised many of these problems. A construction boom helped Spanish unemployment back below 10%, even as immigration soared. But the crisis has exposed old weaknesses again.
但改革也产生了意外后果。临时合同激涨,很快就占据了西班牙劳动力市场近三分之一。劳动者工作换个不停:在本世纪初的四五年间,转正至固定员工的临时工仅有6%。而当该国经济下滑时,大量人员被裁,失业率增长速度还要快于改革之前。而那些签署临时合同的雇员,比如年轻人,可能首当其冲受到波及。从上世纪九十年代中期到2008年金融危机期间,欧元区经济经历了长期扩张,掩盖了这其中的许多问题。而建筑业繁荣帮助西班牙失业率跌至10%以下,即使外来移民飙升。但金融危机令这一老毛病再现。

Volatility is but one cost of dual labour markets. Frequent job turnover makes households’ finances less certain, making it harder, for example, to save regularly for old age. More importantly, temporary employment discourages firms from investing in their workers. The cost to an employer of converting an expiring temporary contract into a permanent one is quite high because of a discontinuous jump in the cost of sacking the worker. So there is an incentive to get rid of him when his contract ends and to invest little in training him.
动荡只是二元劳动力市场的代价之一。频繁更换工作令家庭财务较不稳定,例如想为将来养老定期存钱就变得更难。更重要的是,雇佣临时工抑制了公司对员工进行投资。由于解雇员工成本一再飙升,对雇主来说,将到期临时工转成固定期员工的成本相当高。因此有这样一个诱因,临时工合同到期时公司就会将其解雇,也就几乎不会花钱来培训他了。



This systematic underinvestment drags productivity inexorably downward. A 2011 study by Juan Dolado of Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Salvador Ortigueira of the European University Institute and Rodolfo Stucchi of the Inter-American Development Bank pins 20% of the productivity slowdown in Spanish manufacturing between 1992 and 2005 on temporary work. The young are especially harmed. Between 2005 and 2007 roughly 80% of Spanish workers aged 16 to 19 were on temporary contracts, compared with 32% of 30-year-olds and 24% of 40-year-olds. A lack of training may weigh on them throughout their working lives.
这种系统性低度投资不可避免地拖累了生产力下滑。据马德里卡洛斯三世大学( Universidad Carlos III DE Madrid )的 Juan Dolado、欧洲大学学院(European University Institute)的Salvador Ortigueira和泛美开发银行(Inter-American Development Bank)的Rodolfo Stucchi在2011年所进行的研究显示,在1992年至2005年间,西班牙制造业生产力因临时工而下滑了20%。尤其年轻人受到了伤害。在2005年至2007年间,约80%年龄在16岁到19岁的西班牙劳动者是临时工,而30岁人中的这一比例为32%,40岁的比例为24%。缺少培训,这些人在整个工作生涯中都会承受压力。

A single, open-ended labour contract, in which severance pay rises continuously with tenure, should increase the incentive for firms to retain more employees for longer and to invest more in the human capital of new workers. Incremental protections should also moderate swings in employment. A study of French and Spanish labour markets found that the recent rise in Spain’s unemployment rate might have been cut by a third had Spain followed the French example of a shallower gradient between labour-market tiers.
单一的无固定期限劳动合同应会增加公司长期挽留更多雇员的意愿,并加大对新进员工的人力资本投入。无固定期限劳动合同的离职金(severance pay)随着任职期限的增加而增加。保障增加也应会减缓就业市场的动荡。对法国和西班牙劳动力市场的研究发现,如果西班牙能按法国的模式,即劳动力市场层次逐级过渡更平缓,那么该国近来的失业率增幅就会削减三分之一。

At this point, supporters of the model might well point to Germany, where the youth unemployment rate is a mere 7.8% and overall joblessness is at its lowest level for decades. In many respect Germany’s labour market mirrors that of its peers. It, too, responded to eurosclerosis with flexible, second-tier contracts. Permanent positions protected by strong employment rules still dominate its labour market.
在这一点上,支持该模式的人或许会引证德国的情况,德国青年失业率仅为7.8%,且整体失业率处于数十年来最低位。在许多方面德国的劳动力市场都是他国的榜样。而德国对应欧洲硬化症(Eurosclerosis)的也是其灵活的两层次劳动合同。受到就业法强有力保护的固定职位仍主导着该国就业市场。

But Germany also sought greater flexibility in other areas. Part-time work became increasingly common: Germany’s Kurzarbeit programme, in which firms reacted to recession by cutting hours rather than employees, is just the latest example of this approach. Germany’s better performance also relied on ever-stingier unemployment benefits, which increased labour supply and reduced upward wage pressure. Clauses in collective-bargaining agreements allowed individual firms to stray from wage deals when competitive pressures demanded it.
但在其他方面德国也寻求更大的灵活性。兼职工作越来越普遍:德国的短时工作(Kurzarbeit)方案就是这种方法的最新例子,该方案要求公司在应对经济衰退时不辞退员工,而是缩短工时。德国劳动力市场的较为优异表现也有赖于其一直比较抠门的失业补贴,这样劳动力供给有所增加,且工资上涨压力放缓。集体劳资协议(collective-bargaining agreements )中的条款允许私人公司在迫于竞争压力时可偏离工资协议。

Dual purpose
双重目的

Germany may have pursued wage restraint, but that is no easy route to prosperity. Indeed, dual labour markets are more likely to have the opposite effect. Permanent workers fearlessly seek higher wages, confident that job losses will fall first on temporary workers. Soaring Spanish unemployment has produced little wage moderation. During 2009 the pay of permanent workers rose by 4% in real terms.
德国可能追求限制工资增长,但此路并非通向繁荣轻松通道。事实上,二元劳动力市场更可能会产生反效果。其中,固定雇员毫无顾忌追求高工资,相信裁员时临时工首当其冲。西班牙失业率飙升几乎没有令工资增长降速。扣除物价因素,2009年该国固定员工工资上涨了4%。

And attractive as the German model is now, across decades American jobless rates are tough to match. The Anglo-Saxon preference for little or no employment protection may be the most effective at herding workers from declining industries to growing ones, driving job creation and innovation. Dyspeptic bond markets are now pushing Spain and others towards reforms that make it easier and cheaper to lay off workers again. Not before time.
尽管目前德国的就业市场模式颇有吸引力,数十年来美国失业率都难以与之相匹敌。但美国模式所推崇的低保障或无保障雇佣模式也许是最具活力的雇佣方式,这种模式推动劳动力从夕阳产业转移到朝阳产业、并推动新增就业和创新。当前病态的债券市场正推动西班牙和其他国家迈向改革,如此解雇员工会更容易和更便宜。而此景不远矣!

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