View Full Version : Are you paid what you're worth?

25th Oct 2002, 11:57
I was going to post this on the current thread about the fire brigade strike. But it has far wider implications than just the fire brigade, so I thought I'd start a whole new threaad. So please, if you want to talk about the strike, please post on the other thread. If you want to talk about pay in more general terms, then this is the place!

There is a lot of talk about firemen not being paid "what they're worth." So, the question is, who is really paid what they're worth?

I know that I am paid far more than I'm worth. I sit on my backside in an office for around 7 or 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. During that time, I spend a fair portion on my time on PPRuNe or other internet sites. For this, I'm paid enough money to pay the mortgage and the bills, go to the supermarket without having to look for special offers, eat out when I feel like it, buy as many clothes as I need, run a classic car which, on occassion, costs more to get through an MOT than the market value of some other cars, own a share in an aircraft and fly it regularly, and save enough money to be able to afford my CPL/IR lessons when the time comes. I don't consider myself to be rich, but I'm certainly well-off.

So, why do I get this obscene amount of money?

Personally, I believe it's because there aren't too many people who are both able and willing to do my job. Certainly when I've been interviewing job candidates I've found that most of them are technically [email protected] When I do find someone who knows their stuff, I will do whatever I have to in order to get them to join my team. That generally means paying a good salary.

On the other hand, there are many professions out there which are far more deserving of this money than me. Fire fighters are one. But people are queuing out the door to become fire fighters, and I'd guess that the majority of applicants are capable of doing the job, so there's no chance of them ever earning a descent wage. Likewise, I'd expect to take a small pay-cut when (if!) I got a job as a pilot - I'd be joining at the bottom of the career ladder, in a career which requires far less formal training than the training I've had for my current career. But the pay cut which I would actually have to take by far outstrips what is "fair", because, again, people are queuing out the door to become pilots.

I do not mean this as a criticism of the system. I'm a big believer in the open market, and it seems to me that the vast majority of workers are paid what the open market thinks they're worth, even if it's not what society thinks they're worth. All I'm doing is stating the facts as I see them.

Now, discuss! :D


Select Zone Five
25th Oct 2002, 12:49
I used to earn a good wage but the hours were a killer 11/12 hrs a day average...It was getting me down so I decided to walk away to get my PPL this summer. Done that and now looking to do my ATPL theory starting early next year.

I saved up a good sum of money from working and that's supporting me now but I'm not rich enough to go integrated so I'll be heading back into the workforce once the exams are done, to pay for the next stage :(

Hopefully I can find a well paid job where I can sit on my backside in an office for around 7 or 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. During that time spend a fair portion on my time on PPRuNe or other internet sites.....hang on a sec! :eek:

CV on the way :D

25th Oct 2002, 14:14
No, absolutely not. Because now, finally, I am unemployed !!! So I'm working all day every day in the lab for nothing. Hang on... I'm worth nothing... Guess that's a yes after all then :D

To explain why I'm so happy to be unemployed... it means the end of my PhD is in sight :)

25th Oct 2002, 14:32
No complaints about the pay for the day job.

It's the extra job that makes me wonder.............. ;)

25th Oct 2002, 14:50
I am definitely not paid enough for the job I do, low 20k, no rise this year, overtime payments have stopped in favour of days in lieu, which I am too busy to take.
I have spoken to colleagues in other airlines who do the same job as me and are paid 2 or 3 times more.

Before you start telling me to look elsewhere, I love the job I do and the people involved, which is some consolation, plus I get to see the world.

You get to realise that money is not everything, but a little more would help.


The Nr Fairy
25th Oct 2002, 14:56
I am DEFINITELY paid too much.

Got laid off last September. The company which was going to buy us intact wanted the people, and someone made a booboo. Our basic and bonus from the old company was given to the new people as our basic, so we got an automatic pay rise, quite substantially above the rate of inflation. Funnily enough none of us thought this was worth mentioning to our new employers.

Now, this mob is closing us down , so if I get laid off, I can find another job which pays good money rather than extravagant.

However, I've paid for the last part of my CPL(H) this year, so it's not all bad news.

25th Oct 2002, 15:15
I'm not paid anywhere near what I'm worth (what an ego!). Seriously - my other half gets paid silly money for doing a very similar job to FFF by the sounds of it. Collectively we're in the same position - nice cars (mine's a TVR), holidays, food etc without worry, it's just that my job pays so poorly. If I lost my job, it would make no significant impact on our household income.

Personally then I'm not inconvenienced by my lack of earning power, but think of this. I have 5 qualifications to at least degree level, several higher. I have ten year's research experience, recently rated by the Medical Research Council as being "at the forefront of internationally competitive research". Me, and people like me, are your kiddies best hope if (heaven forbid) they come down with some nasty, like leukaemia. So what do I earn? 27k. My last PhD student earned more than me the day he qualified. He got a job "designing" a better toothpaste! Clearly the open market thinks a new toothpaste is more valuable than medical research.

Now I have no gripes about my lifestyle - it's great. My job is fantastic. I love it and wouldn't do anything else. BUT, how do you expect to attract the best people into research if they don't have a decent income? We lose 50% of science graduates the day they get their degree, another 50% the day they get their PhD, and a further 50% after one year's research. Of the remainder, many go somewhere that pays better, eg the USA. In ten years I've noticed a polarisation in the quality of PhD students I get. It used to be that the best students automatically went to do a PhD, then research. Now, the majority are the ones that don't have the ability to get a decent job anywhere else. We still get a small minority who are dedicated to the profession and would pay to work if that is what it took. They are as valuable as gold dust, but we pay them a pittance.

C'est la vie, I guess. But not right.

Rant over! :rolleyes:

25th Oct 2002, 15:25
AerBabe and PFLs both raise a very good point, which is that my quote that "the vast majority of workers are paid what the open market thinks they're worth" clearly doesn't apply to students and researchers.

In the case of studies up to undergraduate level, many people justify this because they will have a greater earning potential when they gain their qualification. But this doesn't seem to be the case for Masters students, and even less so for PhD students. And full-time researchers are clearly not doing their job with money in mind. My over-simplified initial post suggests that this would be explained by the high number of people wanting to do the job, but I don't notice a huge queue of people wanting to be researchers.

An interesting point, which I don't have an answer to. If "love of the job" were the answer, then why don't we see queues of potential researchers? :confused:


25th Oct 2002, 15:47
Hmmm, maybe it's because the market is distorted. There's a set amount of money I can pay to a PhD student or postdoctoral fellow. The good ones get the same amount as the bad ones. If I'm interviewing candidates, the only criterion imposed on me by the MRC or other research funding body is that I must fill the post. I offer the job to the best person who choses to turn up, but I can't pay more to get a better person. Combined with the pittance I'm allowed to offer, this in effect encourages the good people to go elsewhere, and leave me with the poorest, or if I'm very lucky, the dedicated. However, even the dedicated have to pay the bills. Loving the job and giving your life over to it doesn't put food on the table. Intelligent people know this (or they ought to!), so they don't queue up to join in the madness.

25th Oct 2002, 16:26
Agreed on the PhD wages - I earn (*does quick conversion*) about 8k doing labs and so forth for the college along with my PhD work. If I was in industry, I'd be earning around 25-35k by now. Which brings up the interesting state of affairs where the smartest leave college because it's the smart thing to do and the PhD student standards start to fall... that's a long slippery slope right there because the PhD students are the grunts in the lab doing the scut work of teaching, so if they're not up to scratch, the next class are going to be even worse, and so on ....

25th Oct 2002, 16:31
Always said you couldn't be that bright if you did a PhD :( Gotta be something wrong with us choosing to stay on for a fraction of what we'd earn in industry.

25th Oct 2002, 16:54
No, I don't think I get paid what I'm worth...and nor do many other nurses, which probably explains the current shortage. I have a degree and I spent a further year of fairly grinding study to gain my paediatric certificate. If market forces dictate wages, then obviously the market (ie all you lot out there) sees the work I do as not worthy of reward. As someone pointed out, monetary reward is not the only measure of worth, but it certainly makes life just a little easier. Certainly, there is a great deal of satisfaction in nursing, and money can't buy that. However, it's still incredibly frustrating to know that the work I do, at the end of the day, is not really valued in comparison to other occupations.


25th Oct 2002, 20:06
PFLs/FFF - I nearly carried on after a PhD because of the love of it, but I'm one of the 66% (in Astronomy) who quit after the PhD. Had three job offers, two as a postdoc (Durham and Cambridge) and my current employer (IT) which pays more than the two postdocs put together. Not a very hard choice to make in the end. It's not "I love this job" - it's "I really really love this job and will put up with all sorts of crap to do it". :(

AerBabe - PhD paid out in the end for me. Only by leaving and doing something completely different, I guess, but it opens a lot of doors :)

26th Oct 2002, 05:04
Ive just recentley become an unemployed bum of no fixed address but the job I had um...yeh paid pretty well for the amount of bloodey work I put in each day. Tax free too.

26th Oct 2002, 09:54
Sure not!!!
But who cares as long as I am having FUN???:D

26th Oct 2002, 12:54
no! I do most of the work while my employer chats online all day.....since he is the "manager" he makes the "important" decisions.