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  1. #1
    Babylon Candle Venom's Avatar
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    Default The hardness of a job actually commensurate with pay?

    Some more well paid individuals really like to play up that they make more money because they "work harder" or "provide more to society". But what about the ibanker and the construction worker? What's "harder":
    <> manual labor
    or
    <> looking busy on excel
    ???

    Some people then reverse engineer the "makes more money must therefore be harder" into "makes less money, must therefore be much easier". Take a generic set of skills such as being organized, superior at planning, and adequate social/presentation skills. These skills could be put into use as both a teacher or a middle manager. Most people will assume that teaching is easier just because it pays less (not saying I agree).

    So is it true? Does more money = harder, less money = easy? My guess is that besides the obvious economic answers (easy money will attract more applicants and therefore drive the money down to more closely match the effort level), there is a protestant work ethic thing going on. People don't want to feel guilty that they make more money, and so rationalize that what they do must be "harder".

    What do you think?
    Last edited by Venom; 06-25-2011 at 08:12 PM.

  2. #2
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    I don't think there's real correlation between work difficulty and higher pay, though there are in some instances, such as practicing medicine.

    Some jobs are exceedingly physically difficult or mentally stressful or require higher education and don't pay that well.

    However, some construction workers and coal miners do make a decent salary, but coal miners should probably make even more than they already do given the dangerous nature of the work.

    CEOs of companies are largely overpaid, teachers are largely underpaid, and I made more money as a topless dancer than I did running my ass off as a waitress.

    I mean, don't get me wrong, there is a loose correlation between education or skill and pay, but it's definitely not a fixed thing by any stretch of the imagination.

    In many ways I think the present state of the American economy is absolutely crap.

  3. #3
    The Eighth Colour Octarine's Avatar
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    There is a correlation, but it's not as strong as you might first think. I think on the low end (from low skill minimum wage), to medium skill there is a moderately high effect, but this decreases as wages get higher. Why can an anaesthetist earn twice that of a GP? Are they worth this much (I doubt it)?
    It's about supply and demand. Sometimes the level of prestige of a particular job is out of proportion with the level of skill involved, or wages, resulting in a glut of applicants (eg certain academic fields).

    Quote Originally Posted by Marmie Dearest View Post
    However, some construction workers and coal miners do make a decent salary, but coal miners should probably make even more than they already do given the dangerous nature of the work.
    It really depends on where you live. In Australia, coal miners can receive high incomes, but in China... Likewise, construction works in Qatar or the UAE receive terrible wages due to exploitation of a labour glut from South Asia.

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    I was speaking specifically of the United States since the OP was talking about "Protestant work ethic" and investment bankers vs. teachers, which doesn't tend to be as much of a heinous problem in many countries Western Europe.

    Yes, of course if we begin talking about Southeast Asia we can also discuss people who are making pennies a day to do horrible labor. Which would in some cases actually relate back to American companies.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Meek's Avatar
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    I'm a house keeper at the moment and I get paid shitty and I work extremely hard. It is the hardest job in the hotel.
    If not for the house keepers, the hotel wouldn't really be running.

    Being a business man obviously may be hard work mentally, and they get paid a lot.
    Being a construction worker, I think may be hard work mentally and physically.

    I don't see a lot of fat business men doing much physical work- Obviously.

    Therefore, I think it's harder on the grunt worker who gets both ends of the shit stick.

    There are some places that pay a lot but not as much as being an architect or corporate bigwig.
    I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.-
    Albert Einstein

  6. #6
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    I think you mean commensurate, not commiserate.

    And no, obviously it's not directly related to physical difficulty. It is related to overall difficulty in the sense that if everyone could do those high-paying jobs, they could get away with paying less and most likely would do so, barring regulations. A few outliers like CEOs (influence of luck but also a "difficulty" aspect - networking) throw out the curve, but overall that's the trend.

    i.e, not everyone can be (or wants to jump through the hoops to be) a good doctor, an engineer, a laywer, even a wall street guy.
    -end of thread-

  7. #7
    ThatGirl
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    In my experience you work a lot harder in the lower wage jobs. You're micro-managed and that whole, "If you have time to lean you have time to clean," mentality is prevalent. In the higher paying jobs, they can be more demanding, but you can usually pace it according to what it takes to just get the job done and may work longer hours.

    As far as the medical community goes, the less education you have, the harder you work and less you get paid.

    I guess the answer is what you would consider hard work.

  8. #8
    nee andante bechimo's Avatar
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    Supply and demand. The more scarce a necessary commodity, the greater the demand, the higher the price.

    Take the rise and fall of developers' salaries, instead of comparing manual to intellectual labour. During the dot.com boom years, developers were making killer salaries with phenomenal benefits and were treated like demi-gods, since there wasn't enough talent to meet demand so competition was fierce. The dot.com bubble busted and so did developers' salaries, benefits and worse yet, jobs. At present, it's leveled out. While exceedingly talented developers can demand top wages, most salaries range mid to high 5 figures.

  9. #9
    Senior Member captain curmudgeon's Avatar
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    As a social work major, it seems that social workers' pay doesn't really seem commensurate with skill, stress level, or demand. People will complain about the need for them, but their jobs tend to get cut quickly when money gets tight. Also, many positions will require a masters degree plus at least a couple years of experience, while someone in child protective services might need only a bachelors degree That's just insane.
    Last edited by captain curmudgeon; 06-26-2011 at 03:57 PM.

  10. #10
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    no way.

    what i do believe is that more responsibility makes more pay. the more people can theoretically blame you for something, the more you tend to get paid. thus the CEO makes more than the manager makes more than the wage slave.

    theoretically, of course. we all know that in reality the lowest person on the totem pole gets shat upon while the CEO, even if caught with his pants down (literally), escapes with his ginormous severance check.

    Quote Originally Posted by Randomnity
    i.e, not everyone can be (or wants to jump through the hoops to be) a good doctor, an engineer, a laywer, even a wall street guy.
    that too.

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