You might have seen the early education sector out over the weekend protesting for equal pay.

Now one of the great concerns, well for me anyway, that came out of that rest home deal worth $2 billion was that union-driven professions would see it as some sort of cash-grab and start making claims left, right and centre. And so it is proving to be.

The real problem, as we have said a number of times, is that pay equity is a crap shoot whereby it is way more complex than any one dares admit. And therefore we have come up with this haphazard calculation that involves you taking the plight of one industry, that's primarily female-dominated, and comparing it to some other industry, that's primarily male-dominated, and asking for the same deal.

The fact they do different things doesn't seem to matter. And this is where we are going to get ourselves into a very expensive, complex hole.


So to the early childhood teachers, do they deserve a better deal? Probably. But not because of equity based issues. They deserve a better deal because teachers by and large are poorly paid and their contribution to our kids' lives is undervalued.

But because it's a union-dominated profession they find themselves in the quandary they do. The wage is not based on skill, it's based on numbers. And numbers will never lead to any sort of serious wage break through.

But ask yourself these questions.

The early childhood sector is female-dominated. Why?
Could it at least in part be because men are scared out of it by our odd fixation that if you're a bloke and a kindergarten teacher you must be a weirdo?

Does a kindergarten teacher deserve similar pay to a primary school teacher or secondary teacher given they don't do the same level of complex work?

Could it be argued that teaching Level 3 Calculus is way harder, more detailed and requiring far greater skills than painting pictures with a 3-year-old?

Is a room full of 16-year-olds doing biology tougher than a room full of 4-year-olds playing with plasticine?

Because that is the comparison you're making. There are far more males at the older end of education than at the younger end, so can you in any real way make a genuine comparison?

Yes they're teachers. Yes they're all educators. But is the work the same?
And that's the mad complexity because they will all argue it's important, which it is, it's all vital, it's all part of the overall picture in developing young minds.

But once you introduce that level of emotion to the argument, the clarity of the debate is lost. Because you either have to be blunt and say 'look dealing with little kids ain't the same as a young adult'.


Or you go all PC about it and acquiesce and hand out pay rises. And if you did, you can just imagine what the senior sector of the profession would say.

Thus showing if you start with a fraught solution to a problem, it only gets more fraught the more often it's rolled out.