Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Town vs gown in 2003

Pseudonymous blogger Professor Bunyip (rumoured by Tim Dunlop to be Australian editorial writer and ex-academic, Imre Saluzinsky) doesn’t know his ivory tower from his own driveway.

After depicting – accurately enough – today’s uni students as likely going on after graduation “to pursue success hawking mobile phones or making fine careers in supermarket management”, he then attacks the cushiness of working life in academia, compared to a job as labourer on the Professor’s own home renovations.

This “town vs gown” comparison is an old one, and no doubt had some validity during the Professor’s salad days on the pre-HECS taxpayer teat. As to why he clings on to it when it comes to his own backyard (literally) however, is a mystery. His perception that, in 2003, labourers are relatively badly paid is astonishing. Presumably, it only arises because the “navvies’” wages pale in comparison with the Professor’s own wealth and means.

For the record, blue collar employment is strong, and is likely to remain that way. Professional employment (outside health) on the other hand, is looking increasingly dire – hence the reference to mobile phone hawkers and supermarket managers (the Professor left out call centre workers). These classes of workers, of course, are now paid much less than labourers.

Indeed, if the Professor could but realise how much he is over-paying his “navvies”, I’d bet he could get some unemployed uni graduates in to finish the job at half the previous going rate.

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