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[作文]Why Plumbing Is So Expensive in Australia?

18-02-11 20:06    作者:辉格    相关股票:

(上周英语课上老师布置了个作业:自己选择一个议题,先给两小时做研究,然后写一篇议论文章,这是我做过的最长的英语写作题,之前的都不超过300 words,很吃力不过挺有收获。)

Why Plumbing Is So Expensive in Australia?
by Egbert Tzoe
8 Feb 2018

Plumbing is extremely expensive in Australia. According to 9news, it charges $78.40 an hour on average, highest among all kinds of tradie, while lawyer service charges only $37 an hour.[1] By contrast, a mean American plumber charges $31.61(usd$24.74) an hour.[2]

The direct cause of this situation is quite straightforward: there are too few plumbers in this country. Year by year, there are fewer and fewer young people are willing to become a plumber. Perhaps the most revealing fact is that the average age of Australian plumbers is 55, while the overall workforce average is 38. As Mr Paddy McCrudden, an officer of Plumbing Trades Employees Union, says, “plumbers are fast becoming the dad’s army.”[3]

But why? What prevents such a high wage from attracting more young (or not so young) people into this business? There are no obvious answers, but we have some clues.

Higher education was (and is) booming in recent decades. According to Australian Bureau of Statistics, proportion of people aged 25-34 with a bachelor or higher degree increased from 27% in 2004 to 37.3% in 2015.[4]

As we can imagine, university graduates tend to have a white-collar or managerial or creative job. They would find a hard, dirty and muscular plumbing job unattractive. It’s simply incompatible with their self-identity. In addition, as more girls go to university, plumbers, as well as other heavy manual labor workers, are becoming less popular in the marriage market, because people consistently choose their partners who have an educational background similar to that of themselves.

As other heavy trades, plumbing is highly masculine. An evidence for this is that more than 99% plumbers are male.[5] But, sadly (or nicely, depends on your taste), masculinity has been declining rapidly for half a century in the Western World, especially in its developed part. Among other evidences are two facts: First, average sperm count in men has dropped 50% between 1974 and 2011.[6] Second, maybe not coincidentally, all the tough guy actors have disappeared from the movie or TV screens since mid-1990s.[7]

Well then, how can we fix this?

Less uni education? Many people would surely be unhappy or even riot I guess.

More visas for plumbers? It doesn’t work. In fact, there is a large and sufficient visa quota for plumbers already, 5507 in 2018 alone, but only 4 or 0.07% of them are filled to date. By contrast, 51 of 2675 (1.9%) visa vacancies for chefs, 2955 of 6202 (47%) for programmers, 2633 of 4785 (55%) for accountants, are filled during the same period.[8]

Obviously there are not so many foreign plumbers who are interested in and qualified for migrating to Australia. I think English is the main barrier, because as other tradies, plumbers tend to receive less education than other skilled visa applicant. So maybe lowering the English requirement can be a cure, but I suspect would it help a lot.

Maybe there is no solution, or maybe high cost of plumbing is not a problem at all. After all, tough men is an endangered species nowadays, but meanwhile, despite the great advance in automatic technologies in recent years, there is still many work need them to do, hence it seems not so unfair to pay a high price for these tough guy survivors. Even better, this high price forces we aussies to do many jobs by ourselves, and get a lot of joys.

So let it be.

 

References:

[1] http://www.news.com.au/finance/work/careers/plumbers-electricians-australias-richest-tradies-charging-more-than-the-average-lawyer/news-story/4fee7c5920ff4624e53c5ca20f99e3cb

[2] https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes472152.htm

[3] http://www.news.com.au/finance/work/australias-most-wanted-jobs-tech-heads-health-staff-and-plumbers/news-story/5aed73cf949f668df49be25d5f8b67fe

[4] https://www.universitiesaustralia.edu.au/australias-universities/key-facts-and-data#.Wn_ZEiVub4Z

[5] http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/ABS@.nsf/2f762f95845417aeca25706c00834efa/4ce9a706f8b1bba7ca2570ec000e3635!OpenDocument

[6] https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/sperm-count-dropping-in-western-world/

[7] http://www.weirdrepublic.com/episode159.htm

[8] http://deltaimmigration.com.au/Plumber-General/334111.htm

 

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