Wednesday, March 16, 2005

time for a career change.

Yesterday an employer group filed for a pay increase in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission. Not just any pay increase, a 30 per cent pay increase. Yes. By an employer.

The Consulting Surveyors Queensland Industrial Organisation of Employers filed for this increase, arguing that there are insufficient boundary surveyors in QLD because they don’t get paid enough. The supply of surveyors is diminishing – there are currently 800 registered surveyors, with 3 people entering and 12 people leaving the industry and each year. Assuming that demand is at least constant, this has to put upward pressure on wages.

And this comes after pay increases of up to 31 percent to electricity tradesmen were approved in QLD last month.

This is all good for my brother. He is the only one of my siblings who didn’t go to uni, is already earning the most out of all of us, and is a surveyor. Maybe he should move to QLD, and then he could come and visit me more often.

This is both concrete evidence of a labour market shortages, and complete vindication of the RBA’s recent decision to increase interest rates, so as to head off inflation in the medium term. Indeed, if this keeps going (and it is unlikely to suddenly stop – they don’t call it a wage-price spiral for nothing), the RBA will find it pretty damn hard to keep inflation in the target range of 2-3 per cent.* Quite probably, the RBA should have been highlighting the deficiencies in the labour market and moving on interest rates last year.

Whatever the case, Costello should be sweating, and my brother should be smiling.

* If this does happen, I am likely to face real wage decline, as my pay is not set to increase at more than two percent this year, and there is no shortage of public servants so I have limited bargaining power. Maybe I should become a sparky …

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