Seattle aerospace workers earning less than my school kid

Fascinating stuff from Dominic Gates at the Seattle Times on wages in the aerospace industry in Boeing-town.It’s full of interesting numbers which you can read yourself, but here’s a taster: The 2006 median-wage rate for a non-Boeing aerospace-production worker in Washington was just over $15 per hour, compared to nearly $28 per hour for a Boeing production worker.

As the father of teenage boys I’ve got a pretty good understanding of pay-rates for weekend jobs in London and how that market works. Generally speaking the employer has the upper hand as there are nearly always more kids looking for work than there are positions. On the other hand these are real jobs and the employers’ alternative is to hire adults on proper salaries – so in retail especially, where trade is often busiest at weekends, paying kids reasonably well makes sense.

One way or another, the upshot is that the going rate in London is over seven pounds an hour, plus tips and/or bonuses. The Seattle Times had no difficulty finding people putting the Boeing 787 together for ten bucks an hour. Well, even if you think the current 2:1 exchange rate distorts the comparison, those folks would have to get very substantial pay-hikes to match my son.

You can see Airbus’ problem.


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