What is a Fair Wage?

by Kristina on July 5, 2012 · 8 comments

dollar bills

Good Morning DINKS. Today we are discussing the amount of wages that people earn in different career fields.  Do you feel that your career field earns fair wages and do you feel that you are making as much money as you deserve compared to the amount of work that you perform on a daily basis? For some jobs the income wage is based on the employee’s expertise and education, but for some other jobs the income wage is based on the amount of work involved.  Some people chose to be self employed or accept a lower annual income because their career choice is what they love to do. For some people their career choice may be their passion.

Our income wage is important because it controls both our financial as well as our emotional well being.  It is said that money can be the root of all evil, but I believe that money can also be the root of all stress. During financial hardships people may take desperate actions without fully considering the consequences of their actions.  If people just sat down to fully think about what is causing them stress they could focus on the steps that need to be taken in order to become stress free.  If you are in debt applying for more debt may not be the best long term option to become stress free, but it may seem like a smart short term solution. However, setting up a monthly debt repayment plan that fits into your personal budget can help you become both stress free and debt free.

Not earning a fair wage for the amount of work we provide could be the difference between just living our lives and enjoying or loving our lives.  It can also be the difference between being a resentful employee and a happy employee. Our wage determines the amount of money that we are able to save, the vacations that we are able to afford, and the daily luxuries that we can buy, in short (for some people) our wage determines our personal happiness.

If you felt that you were not earning a fair wage would you quit your job?

Some careers such as accountants, doctors, and engineers are considered professions and therefore they earn high wages because they are considered to be experts in their field.  These types of careers require many years of schooling and a higher education in order to earn their professional title; therefore they are paid a higher income wage.

Sometimes people who work the hardest don’t actually make a lot of money because their career is not deemed to be prestigious or revenue generating.  A prime example of this is people who work in customer service. Whether you work for a major fortune 500 company or in a local department store customer service is a very emotionally demanding job.  Customer service agents are not sales people and therefore they do not generate revenue for their company; however they do deal with the company’s clients on a daily basis and they may sustain the company’s revenues by ensuring that clients remain clients. Customer service jobs definitely do not earn a fair wage for the amount of work they do.

For some people their career choice is something that they love. They aren’t necessarily in it for the money; they may even get into particular careers knowing that the typical starting wages are not very high. However they choose the love of and passion for their career field over earning a high wage.

Here are three jobs that I personally do not feel earn a fair wage:

1. Teachers. For the amount of actual work involved, the required work outside of classroom ours, and the possibly of children bringing guns to school Teachers definitely don’t earn a fair wage.

2. Police. I am not a huge fan of authority or of people who carry guns, but if you put your life on the line every single day you should be earning a high wage.

3. Customer Service Positions. People who listen to other people complain all day definitely deserve to earn an above average wage.

Photo by MollyDG

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Michelle July 5, 2012 at 9:40 am

I definitely agree with your list! And I definitely agree with the police wage like you said. Where I live, the cops in the city only get paid around $25K, but if you live in the suburbs, you start at $50K. Crazy!

2 Brandy July 5, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Fair wage??? It is your choice to be a teacher, cop, doctor, lawyer, or whatever. If you don’t like what you are getting paid, it is your choice to be paid that amount. You always have the option of asking for a raise, excelling at your job so you get promoted, quitting and finding a better job, or God forbid, starting a business where you set your own wage. This of course would mean that you could stop being a “victim” for 10 minutes and think about what other people might need/want and how you can help them get that.

3 elliott July 5, 2012 at 11:50 pm

Suppose for a moment that you’re in charge. You can ensure everyone receives “fair wages.” Who receives below average wages?

4 Kristina July 6, 2012 at 7:07 pm

@Michelle – that is a huge difference and definitely not enough money.

@eelliott – I think that fair wage depends on a variety of factors such as the amount of work involved, the level of education required, as well as previous work experience and performance evaluations.


5 elliott July 6, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Fair wage factors should also include the employer’s perceived value of the service being performed and the size of the labor pool with the required qualifications. If the employer’s perception is too wrong (high or low), the company will suffer the consequences in the form of decreased profit.

All positions start at a fair wage. If either party had a better option, the wage would not have been mutually agreed upon.

Whether the wage remains fair depends on the factors I mentioned above. If (1) the perceived value increases AND (2) sufficient profits from the actual (hard-to-measure) value exists, then a new wage agreement can be made.
**If (1) NOT (2), good for the employee, but the employer profits will suffer.
**If (2) NOT (1), the employee can take their skills elsewhere.

I take exception to your position that “Customer Service Positions… deserve to earn an above average wage.” Above average relative to what? Which jobs deserve to earn a below average wage?

6 elliott July 6, 2012 at 10:58 pm

Pay cuts are “fair wage” changes too. And a pay cut may be more desirable (more fair?) than the alternative, unemployment.

7 Financial Samurai July 7, 2012 at 11:21 am

It would be great if teachers could earn 50% more. What’s more important that educating our youth?

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