Yes, managers are paid too much (way too much)

Yes, managers are paid too much (way too much)

Pointy-haired Boss

There is a strange modern term which encompasses sociability, interpersonal insight, conflict resolution, and communication. It's called 'people skills'.

It's a rare and valuable skill set. Well, maybe not all that rare. We all know people who seem like they can talk to anyone, or who say the right thing at a funeral, or can get two squabbling friends talking again. But it's still a very valuable skill. Literally.

Being a manger is difficult, it requires people skills. A manager always earns more than the employee base, from which he may even have ascended. I have no problem with the Dunnes Stores manager making more than the shelf stackers and the beeping cashier ladies.

But what happens when you move up a few notches? Are the exact same people skills so valuable that when you're a manager of, say, a bunch of nuclear physicists or software architects or genetic biologists you still get paid more?

As I said people skills are wonderful, but it is a limited skill set–although you will improve with experience, you will never increase your ability in the same way as a brain surgeon who does a four year pre-med and a four year medical degree and a six year residency and another year or two in advanced study (16 years total).

This doesn't stop David Ramsey Chief Executive Officer of the Charleston Area Medical Center pocketing $1.2M last year, while the median pay of neurosurgeons only hits about $300K.

Closer to home, Leo Varadkar (FG) has called for pay increases for public servants. He has switched his 1st year doctor's salary (€50k) for a 1st year TD's (€100k), which shows where our priorities lie() and his, I suppose.  One assumes that he is not calling for an increase in pay for TD's, as they should be happy with their recent increase of €750 per week.

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Endnotes:
  1. From this month's Phoenix magazine [back ↩]