The Mason and the Oracle Consultant

The days of Flat/Constant salaries are slowly going away. With more and more focus on productivity across the world ,hourly wages are gaining popularity.  The perception of hourly wages associated with low paying jobs is no longer true.  This has infact opened up new opportunities for companies and Individuals who have acquired specialised skill sets.

When my father build our house in the 90’s the mason used to charge Rs 200 a day for him and two of his associates along with a sumptuous lunch,break fast and a snack in the evening. This would look exorbitant for any one in the northern part of the country. Thanks to Communism – Kerala still is heaven laborers. The carpenter used to charge Rs 150 for himself which now has reached 700+. As a child i had more respect for the carpenter who had more 100 rupees in his hand than the mason, when my grandfather used to give their wages at the end of the day.  I was curious as to what made the carpenter have more money than the mason though both were almost doing the same physical labour.


Today i was working with a Consultant who was charging $250 dollar an hour.  Because of some budget constraints i was asked to keep an eye on his hours which is quite unusual in the industry . But what bothered me was, what is it that that made the guy worth $250 dollar an hour. On a broader angle what determines labour rates??? Is it just an intersection of supply and demand of labour.  But then there is always demand for menial jobs and there are not enough supply of labour to do them. Then why doesnt the labour rates for these kind of jobs go up?

Is it then associated with the Skill set required to perform a task?? Not really because its always easier to Configure a server than making a lovely designed gold chain, which still doesn’t answer why an Infrastructure consultant charges more than a Goldsmith.

Is it then associated with the Creative quotient/thought leadership/Knowledge you have. That also doesnt seem to be the case because we all know of economists and artists who struggle to make their ends meet. But fine piece of art always demands a premium, so does the creator or the artist.  As long as there is Revenue associated with the labour Involved it is easy to justify the labour costs. But in most of the cases it is hard to link the additional revenue that is generated out of the labour cost /expenses incurred.  Both the mason and the IT consultants are just contributing to Cost centers and are just absorbing allocated budgets.

I believe there are multiple factors that determine why  Scott the Oracle consultant earns more than Kunjikannan the  Mason (Country factor discounted,Lets assume kunjikannan was in silicon valley). My Talaash  for the answer will stay on..


On a different note Talaash is a good movie dont go by the reviews..





~ by mrkurup on December 6, 2012.

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