Reader Jerry Kusmider emailed me last month sharing his frustration with the low wages in aircraft maintenance. Here is what Mr. Kusmider had to say:
I have enjoyed your magazine for years. I have been an A&P for 20 years, and I hold an IA certificate, a private pilot certificate, and a BS degree in aviation maintenance management (Metropolitan State College of Denver). For years I have been troubled by the poor compensation that we receive compared to the level of responsibility that we have. Whenever I tried to advance my career with a different company, the offer was usually the same or lower than my current salary. I am very frustrated to see Toyota technicians make more than I do.
Jerry included a link to an article published on Forbes.com that listed the top 10 best-paying blue collar jobs. Where do you think aircraft mechanics placed? Well, we weren’t in the top 10. Here are the jobs that were listed:
- Elevator installers and repairers, $63,620.
- Locomotive engineers, $57,990.
- Electrical and electronics repairers, $57,400.
- Railroad conductors and yard masters, $55,530.
- Power-plant operators, $55,000.
- Ship engineers, $54,820.
- Construction and mining supervisors, $53,850.
- Gas-plant operators, $53,670.
- Farm managers, $52,070.
- Transportation inspectors, $50,370.
Given the training and knowledge necessary to obtain an A&P certificate, I can see why aircraft mechanics are highly recruited in other industries. And with better pay and benefits, it’s hard to blame aircraft mechanics for leaving the industry for better job opportunities.
Will wages for aircraft mechanics go up? Supply and demand would say that if there are more job openings than available qualified applicants to fill those positions, pay would go up as companies compete to fill those positions. But with the amount of aircraft mechanics that were displaced by the airlines in recent moves toward outsourcing and reductions in the workforce, and with more noncertificated workers working at repair stations under the supervision of A&Ps, it could take a while for the supply and demand factor to kick in.
What do you think?
Thanks for reading, and keep that feedback coming!