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Anorak | Solving the industrial problem: raise your bloody wages

Solving the industrial problem: raise your bloody wages

by | 30th, July 2012

YET another of these bloody attempts to define what is wrong with British manufacturing industry. As ever, calling for the picking of winners and government support for them. Bloody stupid, as ever:

“At Airbus we have a shortage, in just one company, of 2,500 professional engineers across Europe and in the UK. There is tremendous demand for quality professional engineers and technicians,” he says.

To combat this shortage and to grow British engineering, Sir John believes the UK needs a fully-fledged industrial blueprint.

“I have travelled around with business and seen how other nations organise themselves and tilt policy in favour of their industrial base. At the highest level, an industrial strategy, in my view, is about giving the right signals to society that industrial activity is very important.”

According to Sir John, this strategy does not even have to be complex. Indeed, it should be confined to a single piece of paper.

“You should keep it as simple as you can,” he states. “I have always been brought up to believe that the clear industrial strategies within a company like Anglo American can be put on a single piece of paper, because it is about the big issues.

Well, here’s the solution and it’s a lot shorter than a single page.

Raise your fucking wages.

That’s it, that’s the complete solution. You see, we have this thing called a “market” for labour. It’s the prices of things that indicate the interaction of supply and demand for them. A higher price indicates that supply is perhaps lower than some would like, or that demand is higher than others are offering.

So, if you were a senior industrialist facing a shortage of trained and decent engineers then what should you do? Well, call me simplistic if you must but I would argue that you should raise the price you’re offering for said trained and decent engineers.

One comany that Sir John is involved with is Airbus. A quick peek at their salaries shows that they’re in the £20k to £50k range. I’d assume that that’s from graduate entry to end of career progression sorts of numbers.

So from around £10 an hour, something you can earn waiting tables (yes, I have done it and yes, I was good at it and yes, I earned well in excess of £10 an hour) to £50k after decades of experience.

Or as we might put it, you’re asking clever graduates (the dim ones don’t do engineering) to work for no graduate premium and then at the end of their careers they might get year two City type salaries.

You’ve got a shortage of engineers Sir John? You’re surprised are you?

Just raise your fucking wages.



Posted: 30th, July 2012 | In: Money Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink