Good News! Sort of…. and tens years late.

Posted on April 11, 2011

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It is real easy to get very doom and gloom when discussing the living and working conditions of archaeologists. So it is always nice to find some good news, even if it is ten years late.

Excavators barely get paid a living wage (debatable) and easily some of the lowest wages of those that go to University (not debatable). I wanted to see if life has always been this rough, money-wise. I, on occasion, hear stories from old-timers about how they were making more money in 1980 then they are today and that is including inflation.

To do this I looked at the pay wages of Excavators in the UK from 1994-2007 using the IfA job information bulletin (see references at the end) and combined it with my own data from the years 2008-2010 (again using the IfA jobs bulletin). You can read why this is an accurate representation of actual wages here. I then compared this against the rise of inflation, using the Retail Price Index (RPI)(it tends to be higher then the Consumer rice index), and what wages would have been had they kept up with inflation. I used the previous years inflation to account for the new wages. This assumes that people update wages rise yearly instead of monthly which I am pretty sure is an accurate estimation. I think the graph shows it best:

Figure 1: Graph of pay for Excavators in the UK 1994-2010

If pay had followed inflation from 1994 Excavators would be making £13,284 instead the average is £16,284 per year in 2010. During the late 1990’s and even into the early 2000’s the pay jumped dramatically for Excavators. It has since evened out and now follows inflation more or less (£16,235 is what an excavator should make following wages in 2005). Still a 23% increase of pay, above inflation, over 15 years is not bad.

Of course, you can always look at the doom and gloom and say a marginal increase from a pitifully low pay still gives you pretty bad pay. Furthermore, one could complain that wages have not increase in the last few years above inflation. I’ll still take good news even if it is 10 years old.

Aitchison, K. R. & Anderson S. M. 1995. Jobs in British Archaeology. The Field Archaeologists No 22 Spring.

Tuner, R. 1996. Jobs in British Archaeology. The Field Archaeologists No 25 Spring

Tuner, R. 1997. Jobs in British Archaeology. The Archaeologists No 29 Summer

Tuner, R. 1998. Jobs in British Archaeology. The Archaeologists No 31 Spring

Tuner, R. 1999. Jobs in British Archaeology. The Archaeologists No 34 Spring

Malcolm, G. 2001. Jobs in British Archaeology. The Archaeologists No 37 Spring

Malcolm, G. 2001. Jobs in British Archaeology. The Archaeologists No 40 Spring

Drummond-Murray, J. 2002. Jobs in British Archaeology. The Archaeologists No 43 Winter

Drummond-Murray, J. 2003. Jobs in British Archaeology. The Archaeologists No 47 Winter

Drummond-Murray, J. 2004. Jobs in British Archaeology. The Archaeologists No 51 Winter

Drummond-Murray, J. 2005. Jobs in British Archaeology. The Archaeologists No 56 Spring

Drummond-Murray, J. 2006. Jobs in British Archaeology. The Archaeologists No 59 Spring

Drummond-Murray, J. 2007. Jobs in British Archaeology. The Archaeologists No 66 Winter

Drummond-Murray, J. 2008. Jobs in British Archaeology. The Archaeologists No 68 Summer