“If you see a plumber on TV, he’s going to be 300 pounds with a giant butt crack,” Mike Rowe wrote recently. “And none of them look like that. They’re actually pretty fit, and pretty smart, and most of them are making six figures a year.” And plumbers aren’t alone. There are a lot of traditionally blue collar jobs that pay exceptionally well, but….
There’s money in this kind of work becasue the work is demanding. And this isn’t just an American problem. This country is full of opportunity for those who can handle physically demanding labor, but many of the unemployed wouldn’t lower themselves to be plumbers.
“We’ve marginalized an entire category of work,” Rowe added. “And we just don’t appreciate the opportunities that are out there.”
Many countries in the so-called-first-world are experiencing the same issues. Take this report on a fencing company in New Zealand.
“Debbie White, of White Fencing, based south of Auckland, said the growth of fencing businesses around New Zealand was being restrained by a lack of workers,” Stuff.Co.NZ writes.
She’s starting workers at $18.50 an hour. She pays some as much as $35. That’s $70,000 a year for building fences. And New Zealand has a lot of area that needs fencing.
Fencing is not for everyone. You have to like being outside. Some of the materials are heavy, which means workers need to be physically fit. It also helps if you have a truck.
“But as an industry, we are actually offering quite good wages and working conditions,” White added.
An 18-year-old high school drop out has proven himself at White’s company and is now making $26 an hour.
“Fencing always gets overlooked,” she said. Despite the livable wage, White still can’t find enough workers. She has more than enough work. Her company regularly turns away work becasue she has insufficient staff.
“It’s hard, physical work,” Brad Joines, president of the Fencing Contractors Association said. “Young people don’t want to do physical work.”
“People just don’t want to do it… We are on the tail end of a generation of people who were told to go to university, don’t do physical work. That doesn’t help.”
Many of those university graduates are left without any employment. Looks like Rowe’s philosophy on hard work might be going global.