What matters to us? What work do we value, and how do we recognise that value? Many metrics are used; job satisfaction surveys, opinion polling, endless Buzzfeed lists, but inevitably it seems we gravitate to that universal measure – remuneration. NPR have posted numbers from Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce (based on US Census data) looking at pay rates for graduates by subject.
What jumps out from the graph is that petroleum engineering majors earn three times the average income of those on the bottom of the payscale, early childhood education graduates.
Says something about our world doesn’t it?
Energy is very important to society and fossil fuels have played a big role in meeting those needs and in our global development, but now we know they come at a huge cost, astronomical public subsidies and the on-going inequity of their continued exorbitant pay isn’t okay. Our teachers, our social workers, our counsellors and community organisers – those who do the jobs that support us all – are surely, surely worth more than the one-third-petroleum-engineer pay they currently receive.
I want to believe a healthy planet with a healthy economy and a healthy society would value those whose work benefits everyone not just a few big oil corporations.