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A Bit Rich: Calculating the Real Value to Society of Different Professions

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Monday, January 14, 2013 - 11:37

Pay matters. How much you earn can determine your lifestyle, where you can afford to live, and your aspirations and status. But to what extent does what we get paid confer ‘worth’? Beyond a narrow notion of productivity, what impact does our work have on the rest of society, and do the financial rewards we receive correspond to this? Do those that get more contribute more to society? With controversial bonuses being paid out in Christmas in bailed-out banks, the authors believe that it is time to ask challenging questions such as these. In this report, they calculate the value to society of a number of different jobs and advocates a fundamental rethink of how the value of work is recognized and rewarded.

In this report the NEF (New Economics Foundation) takes a new approach to looking at the value of work. We go beyond how much different professions are paid to look at what they contribute to society. We use some of the principles and valuation techniques of Social Return on Investment analysis to quantify the social, environmental and economic value that these roles produce--or in some cases undermine.

Our report tells the story of six different jobs. We have chosen jobs from across the private and public sectors and deliberately chosen ones that illustrate the problem. Three are low paid--a hospital cleaner, a recycling plant worker, and a childcare worker. The others are highly paid--a City banker, an advertising executive, and a tax accountant. We recognize that our incentives are created by the institutions and systems around us. It is not our intention, therefore, to target the individuals that do these jobs but rather to examine the professions themselves.

Source: NEF

Attached files pdf_A_Bit_Rich._Calculating_the_value_of_professions.pdf ( B)