【英语财经】新兴市场千禧一代收入更高 EM millennials out-earn their elders

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所属分类:双语财经

2016-5-19 20:03

小艾摘要: If the media coverage is to be believed, the so-called millennials are the most victimised generation in living memory.This cohort, roughly defined as those born between 1985 and 2000, are perceived ( ...
EM millennials out-earn their elders
If the media coverage is to be believed, the so-called millennials are the most victimised generation in living memory.

This cohort, roughly defined as those born between 1985 and 2000, are perceived (by millennials themselves, at least) as facing a uniquely bleak financial future, blighted by high property prices and student debt, low wages and an ultra-competitive labour market.

But if there is any truth in this at all, it would appear to be a first-world problem. In the emerging world, it seems, millennials are doing so well it is their parents’ generation that is being eclipsed.

In a swath of major emerging markets, the gross income of 25 to 29 year-olds is now markedly higher than the national average.

The discrepancy is widest in the Philippines, where 25-29 year-olds, on average, pocket 19.7 per cent more than the average Filipino, but the percentage gap is also in double figures in China, Malaysia, Indonesia, India and Mexico, as the first chart shows.

Smaller, but still meaningful, differentials also exist in Thailand, Brazil, Argentina and Russia, with only South Korea in the EM world bucking the trend (and some would class it as developed, anyway), according to data from Euromonitor International, crunched by Capital Group, the US investment house.

Admittedly this definition of “gross income” does not just include salaries but also takes into account investments, remittances and benefits. Millennials may be among the bigger recipients of benefits, at least if they have children, but this would probably be more than offset by the reduced ability of (mostly) mothers to earn a full-time salary.

Remittances and income from investments would be more likely to flow to older segments of the population, those who have children working overseas or have built up a meaningful pot of wealth.

Moreover, the plight of emerging market 20-somethings contrasts sharply with their peers in the west. As the chart shows, 25-29 year-olds in the US receive a gross income 11.5 per cent below the national average, and those in the UK fall 3.6 per cent short. German millennials do best of the lot, luxuriating in an income gap of essentially zero.

As to why young people in emerging markets are faring so well, analysts universally point to dramatic improvements in education in recent years.

“It’s mostly down to education. If you look at the education of people in China or India compared to their parents or grandparents they are much more likely to have a degree or at least some form of higher qualification,” says Martyn Hole, investment specialist at Capital Group.

Charles Robertson, global chief economist at Renaissance Capital, a Moscow-based investment bank, says “many 54-65 year-olds won’t be as educated, on average, as 25-34 year-olds now.”

Although the same will be true in developed markets, education levels have improved far faster in EMs, albeit from a far lower base.

“Back in 1980, only around 30-45 per cent of [school-age] Brazilians were at secondary school. So over half of people now aged 65 would be [educated to] primary school age only. I’m sure that’s true of many 55 year-olds too,” says Mr Robertson.

“In Russia the current 55-64 year-old cohort was well educated but in the communist ethos, not in market economics. Now some young people will have degrees, and be better educated than the average.”

Mr Hole believes the trend of younger workers out-earning their older peers has further to run, rather than being a one-off adjustment, given the emphasis parents are increasingly putting on education.

This can be seen clearly in a country such as South Korea, where parents spend so much on private education that “it’s almost a one-child policy” because the cost of educating two children in this manner would be prohibitively high for most families, Mr Hole says. But even Brazil, on the other side of the planet, “has hundreds of private schools”.

“In some of these [EM] countries the number of people going to college is still far lower than in the west, so I would expect the trend to continue for some time,” he adds.

Some believe demographic trends may also be fuelling the higher earnings of younger workers.

Mr Robertson says that in countries such as Russia and China “the number of 15-24 year-olds is shrinking relative to 10 years ago”, meaning the younger people who are in the workforce are more in demand and can bid up their wages.

This is certainly the case in Russia, where the number of 18-29 year-olds has fallen from 28.4m in 2010 to 24.4m in 2015, according to data from Euromonitor, while the number of 30-59 year-olds has edged up to 63.1m.

This trend is likely to continue, with an average of 1.33m people a year in the 9-17 age cohort, compared with 2.03m per year for 18-29 year-olds (but 1.73m/year for 0-8 year-olds).

In China, despite the introduction of the one-child policy in 1980, this trend has yet to emerge. The country has 21.4m people per year in the 18-29 age group, unchanged from 2010 and a little higher than for those aged 30-59. However, it is just a matter of time, with China having just 16.3m people a year in the 9-17 cohort.

Nevertheless, Mr Hole says Capital Group has heard of “some very serious [labour] shortages”.

“We have talked to some engineering companies operating in China. They had to increase wages by 10-15 per cent to stop people going to another company” — a trend he says is also evident in some consumer-related sectors.

Mr Hole postulates that China may now have reached the “Lewis turning point”, where the once-inexhaustible pool of surplus rural labour dries up and wages rise rapidly.

This raises a couple of interesting issues. The outsized income of millennials should be good news for companies selling to younger adults. But if part of the reason these people are earning so much is that there are fewer of them, the benefit is negated to some degree.

Secondly, it raises the prospect that today’s well-paid millennials will see their relative wages fall as they age and younger, smarter workers are more in demand — the opposite to the traditional model in the developed world and something that may prove psychologically difficult for some.

Mr Robertson does not believe that millennials’ earnings will fall (as “they won’t become less educated as they get older”) but adds that “demographics and improving education mean 10 year-olds in these countries have a lot to look forward to”.

Jan Dehn, head of research at Ashmore Investment Management, cautions that the income data may not be entirely reliable, given the preponderance of informal, unrecorded labour markets in many emerging countries.

Nevertheless, for him, the rise of the millennials is vindication of his faith in the emerging world.

Mr Dehn believes that, over time, income per head in emerging markets should converge on levels in the developed world. As the second chart shows, for decades there was no sign of this.

Mr Dehn attributes this to the Cold War, when both sides had their client “tinpot dictators”, which led to widespread corruption and intermittent coups, sapping growth.

Even in the 1990s, after the end of the Cold War, growth per head was no faster than in the west, as many countries gradually ditched their dictatorships and built institutions. As a result, the political, social and economic backdrop only became conducive to strong growth this century, when EMs have started to converge on the west.

Mr Dehn makes the point that 25-29 year-olds are the first generation to have been born in the post-Cold War era and to have benefited from the education and employment opportunities that have emerged since the millennium.

“This is the first generation of people who have come through a more stable, prosperous economic environment and stable politics and [EM countries] can attract foreign capital, so they can get good jobs,” he says.

As to whether the millennials will prosper or decline from here, Mr Dehn adds: “In relative terms they should get poorer with every generation, but they should get wealthier in absolute terms.”

如果媒体的报道是可信的,所谓的千禧一代是当前人们记忆中最惨的一代。

千禧一代可粗略定义为出生于1985年到2000年的一代人。在一些人(至少包括千禧一代自己)看来,这个群体面临格外黯淡的财务前景,高房价、学生债务、低工资和竞争极度激烈的劳动力市场都为他们的前途蒙上阴影。

但如果这个论断中有任何真实成分的话,这似乎也是一个第一世界的问题。在新兴世界,千禧一代过得很不错,处于阴影之中的看上去反倒是他们父母那一代人。

在一批主要的新兴市场经济体,现在25-29岁人群的总收入显著高于全国平均水平。

这种收入差在菲律宾最大,25-29岁的人的收入平均比普通菲律宾人高19.7%,在中国、马来西亚、印度尼西亚、印度和墨西哥,这一收入差百分比也达到了两位数,如第一张图所示。

泰国、巴西、阿根廷和俄罗斯的这种收入差虽然更小,但依然显著,在新兴市场世界中,唯有韩国与这种趋势不符(不过有些人会把韩国界定为发达国家)。以上数据由欧睿国际(Euromonitor International)发布,美国投资机构资本集团(Capital Group)编制。

诚然,“总收入”的定义并不仅仅包括工资,这个概念也将投资、汇款和福利考虑在内。千禧一代可能是接受最多福利的人,至少如果他们有孩子的话就是如此。但有子女的夫妻中一方(大多数情况下是妻子)赚取全职工资的能力下降导致的收入下滑,很可能会超过他们获得的福利。

汇款和投资收入更有可能流向年纪更大的人群——那些有子女在海外工作,或者积累了可观财富的人。

此外,新兴市场里20多岁的年轻人的处境和西方同龄人形成了鲜明对比。如图所示,就总收入而言,美国25-29岁人群比全国平均水平低11.5%,英国25-29岁人群比全国平均水平低3.6%。德国的千禧一代处境最好,收入差基本为零。

对于新兴市场的年轻人处境如此之好的原因,分析人士普遍指向了近年来教育水平的大幅提升。

“这主要要归结于教育。如果你看一看中国或者印度的年轻人,你会发现,他们很可能拥有学位或者至少接受过某种形式的高等教育,这与他们的父辈或祖父辈情况不同。”资本集团的投资专员马丁?霍尔(Martyn Hole)说。

莫斯科投行晋新资本(Renaissance Capital)的全球首席经济学家查尔斯?罗伯逊(Charles Robertson)说:“平均而言,现在许多54-65岁的人的教育水平不如25-34岁的人。”

尽管在这方面发达市场的情况也是如此,但新兴市场教育水平提升速度要快得多(虽然起点较低)。

“在1980年,巴西只有大约30%-45%的(适龄)人口在上中学。因此现在65岁的人超过一半只上到小学。我敢肯定,很多55岁的人也是如此,”罗伯逊说。

“在俄罗斯,现在55-64岁的群体受过良好教育,但他们是在共产主义思想下,而非市场经济下受的教育。现在一些年轻人有学位,还会接受更高层次的教育。”

霍尔认为,考虑到父母日益重视教育,更年轻的劳动者比更年长的劳动者赚得更多的趋势不会是一次性调整,还将持续更长时间。

这一点在韩国这样的国家可以很明显地看出。韩国父母在私立学校教育上投入了如此之多,以至于“几乎可以说是独生子女政策”,因为按照这种方式教育两个孩子的成本是大多数家庭难以承受的,霍尔说。但即使是在地球另一边的巴西,也“有数百所私立学校”。

“这些(新兴市场)国家中,有些国家上大学的人数依然远低于西方,因此我预期这一趋势将会持续一段时间,”他补充。

有些人认为,人口趋势可能也促进年轻劳动者赚取更高收入。

罗伯逊称,在俄罗斯和中国等国家,“相比10年前,15-24岁的人口数量正在缩水”,这意味着就业市场对处于劳动年龄的年轻人需求更旺盛,他们可以抬高工资。

欧睿国际的数据显示,俄罗斯的确是这样,年龄18-29岁之间的人口数量由2010年的2840万人下滑至2015年的2440万人,与此同时30岁-59岁的人口数量小幅增加至6310万人。

考虑到9-17岁年龄段中的每一岁的平均人口为133万,而18-29岁每一岁的平均人口为203万(但0-8岁每一岁的人口为173万),上述趋势很可能延续。

尽管中国于1980年引入了独生子女政策,但是这种趋势目前尚未出现。中国18-29岁年龄段中每一岁的平均人口为2140万,自2010年以来一直未变,比30-59岁每一岁的平均人口略高一点。然而,该趋势的出现只是时间问题,目前中国9-17岁每一岁仅有1630万人。

尽管如此,霍尔称,资本集团已经听说过“一些非常严重的(劳动力)短缺情况”。

“我们和一些在中国经营的机械制造公司谈过。它们不得不涨薪10%-15%以阻止员工跳槽。”他称这种趋势在某些与消费者相关的部门也很明显。

霍尔假定,中国眼下可能达到了“刘易斯拐点”(Lewis Turning Point),曾一度取之不尽的农村剩余劳动力池正在干涸,工资水平迅速上升。

这引发了几个有趣的问题。千禧一代的收入超出平均水平,对面向年轻人出售商品的企业来说应该是好消息。但是,如果年轻人收入丰厚的部分原因是年轻人更少了,那么这种好处在某种程度上就会大打折扣。

第二,它带来了这样一种可能性,即随着年龄增长,现在待遇丰厚的千禧一代将看到自己的相对工资下滑,更年轻、更聪明的劳动者将更加抢手——这与发达世界的传统模式正好相反,对某些人来说在心理上可能很难接受。

罗伯逊不认为千禧一代的收入会下滑(因为“他们的教育程度并不会随着年龄增长而降低”),但是他补充称,“人口结构特征和教育水平提高意味着,这些国家当前10岁的孩子们前景光明”。

安石投资管理公司(Ashmore Investment Management)的研究主管简?德恩(Jan Dehn)警告称,考虑到未记录在案的非正规劳动力市场在很多新兴国家十分发达,收入数据可能并不完全可信。

话虽如此,在他看来,千禧一代的崛起印证了他对新兴世界的信心。

德恩认为,随着时间推移,新兴市场的人均国民收入应该会与发达国家的水平趋于一致。如图表二所示,在20多年时间里没有出现这种迹象。

德恩把这归咎于“冷战”,当时双方都有各自的“无能独裁者”,导致普遍的腐败问题和陆续发生的政变,破坏了经济增长。

即使是在冷战结束后的上世纪90年代,很多国家逐渐抛弃了独裁统治并建立了各项制度,发展中国家的人均增长也不比西方快。因此,新兴市场的政治、社会和经济环境是在本世纪才变得有利于经济强劲增长,此时新兴市场经济体开始缩小与西方经济体的差距。

德恩提出,目前年龄在25-29岁之间的人,是在后冷战时代出生并受益于千禧年以来出现的教育和就业机会的第一代人。

“这是在比较稳定、富足的经济环境和稳定的政治环境中长大的第一代人,(新兴国家)可以吸引外国资本,因此他们可以找到好工作,”他称。

至于千禧一代今后是会发展得越来越来还是逐渐走下坡路,德恩补充称:“按相对价值计算,他们应该一代比一代穷,但是按绝对价值计算,他们应该会越来越富有。”

译者/何黎

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