From the TUC

Less inequality – a popular choice

19 Sep 2010, by in Equality, Society & Welfare

A new opinion poll shows that, when they are asked how much different jobs should be paid, people tend to propose higher pay for the low-paid jobs and lower pay for the high paid ones.

The opinion poll was conducted by ComRes for Pay and Tax: The Radio 4 Debate, due to be broadcast tonight at 5.00. One thousand people were asked what they thought different jobs should pay. Some coverage has focused on the fact that footballers were accorded the highest ‘merit’ pay, but what I noticed immediately was the equalising tendency it revealed – for every job that is paid £30,000 a year or more, the public came up with a figure lower than the actual pay rate. For every job paid £25,000 a year or less they came up with a higher figure:

What workers in different jobs are paid and what the public think they should be paid

Profession

Average Pay (£000s)

Should be paid (£000s)

Difference

CEO of a FTSE 100 company

2,100

118

-94%

Premiership footballer

1,700

365

-79%

Bond trader

225

58

-74%

Prime Minister

142.5

119

-16%

Head teacher in a secondary school

73

43

-41%

Train driver

40

28

-30%

Social worker

30

28

-8%

Nurse

29

29

=

Technician

29

28.7

-1%

Airline cabin attendant

23

25

+9%

Secretary/PA

23

25

+9%

Hospital porter

18

21

+15%

Call centre worker

17

19

+14%

Care assistant

16

24

+50%

Retail cashier

13

18

+36%

Taken from BBC News website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11350383

None of this is proof of what people ‘should be paid’ – my guess is that the public’s views are very influenced by what they think people actually are paid. (The high figure for footballers is probably because the average person probably has a more accurate idea of how much they are actually paid.)

But it is a useful corrective to the assumption you often come across, that egalitarianism is bound to be unpopular.

One Response to Less inequality – a popular choice

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    Sep 20th 2010, 1:17 pm

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