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Executive vs. Skilled Trades Pay: What’s the Difference?

Doug Ford, Ontario’s new premier, has many arrows in his quiver for minding the tax pay dollar – one of which is controlling compensation practices in the public sector[1]. In the private sector, think tanks and shareholder activist groups have been focused on a similar mandate for some time now[2]. The collective focus of these efforts has been on understanding and justifying pay practices for senior roles within institutional settings.

Interestingly, the relationship between what you pay for and what you get seems to involve some similar leaps of logic when dealing with skilled trade professionals who come to your home. Some of their charge items, I would argue, test the boundaries of comprehension in much the same way as trying to justify executive pay levels. The following commentary is based on personal experience.

Devil is in the details

If your sump pump fails and you need a plumber, your invoice might collectively include:

  1. site visit fee;
  2. weekend fee and;
  3. emergency call out fee.
  • Is there a realistic expectation that a homeowner can remove the failed sump and take it to the plumber’s office to save the site visit fee?
  • Is there a discount if your sump pump fails on a weekday?
  • Is there a realistic expectation that the plumber will charge you less if it’s not an emergency situation – as defined by whom?

Back to reality

Very few organizations offer shift premiums for working weekends or nights – it’s a condition of the employment offer. If you accept the nature of the job, you accept the hours of work circumstances. Following this logic, since skilled trade professionals, like plumbers, apply their craft on-site and sump pumps don’t decide when to fail what’s the logic behind site visit and weekend fees?

The more I, as a home owner, deal with skilled trade professionals, the more alike they are to the executives subjected to pay scrutiny noted previously. Both groups will extract the maximum monetary value for their time and services in ways which are sometimes not easily justified to those footing the bill.

Now my air conditioner is acting up. I’m bracing myself for (potential) truck on site fees, or summer time servicing fees, or …


[1] https://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2018/07/03/doug-ford-freezes-salaries-of-public-service-managers-orders-review-of-executive-pay.html

[2] https://igopp.org/en/the-canadian-say-on-say-on-pay/


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