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Are air conditioning engineers overpaid?

Recently while visiting a customer I found a copy of a trade magazine from 1989 about the time I joined this industry as an apprentice.

A few things really stuck out in that magazine, all the Aircon units were big metal and wooden boxes, plastic teak veneer was just around the corner and there was much discussion about what we were going to do without R22 and about the NEW VRV technology just introduced. Surprisingly most of the refrigeration systems still look the same as they do now, but the best bit was in the classified section.

I was surprised to find that in 1989 a good Aircon engineer could earn as much as £15000 per annum, I was paid £7000, im not sure what that tells you, a contracts / project engineer as much as £20,000 per annum. It amazed me that in 19 years the salaries have only doubled. Ive trawled the web and come up with a few interesting statistics

In that time house prices in England have more than trebled from £70,000 in 1990 to £227,000 now.

The national average salary in 1989 was £13760 now it is £28000

So an Aircon engineer would earn just over the national average in 1989 and now earns about the same.

What it means is the engineer couldn’t afford a house then and still cant now, in real terms our salaries are the same as they were back when I started but at least the interest rate isn’t 14% any more.

In conclusion I can only say that if engineers are over paid now they have been for the last 20 years so I guess they are about right.
Posted by Graham Hendra 19 March 2008 09:17:31 Categories: Graham's Gossip


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