Think you live on a low wage? What would you have lived off in WW2?


First of all are you a Craftsman or a Labourer… what’s the difference? The difference between a craftsman and a labourer was basically skilled or unskilled labour.

Skilled labour is the portion of workers in an economy that have specific, technical industry skills relating to business and the production of goods. Engineers, welders, accountants and scientists are a few examples of skilled labour  These individuals bring specialized skill sets to the marketplace and are essential in advancing industries through developing new techniques or methods of productions.” ehow.com

Unskilled labour is the cheaper and less technical portion of the workforce that makes up a large part of an economy’s labour market. This workforce plays the important part of performing daily production tasks that do not require technical abilities. Menial and repetitive tasks are the common workplace of unskilled labour  some unskilled labour tasks may include customer-service positions that help consumers when purchasing goods from a company.” ehow.com

Daily Money Wage Rates of Building Craftsmen and Labourers 

The figures given are in old pence, at 240 to the pound sterling.
Figures are per day up to 1846, and per 10 hours subsequently.

Date Crafts Labs Date Crafts Labs Date Crafts Labs
1264-1300 3 1710-30 22 15 1914 85
1300-04 3 to 3½ 1730-36 22 to 24 15 to 16 1915 90 65
1301-50 1½ to 2 1736-73 24 16 1916 93 73
1304-08 1773-76 24 to 29 16 to 19 1917 103 83
1308-11 3½ to 4 1776-91 29 19 1918 120 95
1311-37 4 1791-93 19 to 22 1919 170 140
1337-40 3 to 4 1791-96 29 to 36 1920 240 210
1340-50 3 1793-98 22 1921 205 165
1350-60 3 to 5 1796-1802 36 1922-23 165 125
1350-71 1½ to 3 1799-1802 23 1924-29 180 138
1360-1402 5 1802-06 36 to 43 23 to 29 1930 175 133
1371-1402 3 1806-09 43 29 1931-32 170 128
1402-12 5 to 6 3 to 4 1810-46 48 32 1933-34 165 125
1412-1532 6 1847-52 49 33 1935 175 133
1412-1545 4 1853-60 54 1936 180 135
1532-48 6 to 7 1853-65 34 1937 185 140
1545-51 4 to 6 1861-64 56 1938 190 143
1548-52 7 to 8 1864-66 56 to 64 1939 195 148
1551-80 6 to 8 1866-71 64 1940 210 163
1552-61 8 to 10 1866 36 1941 220 173
1561-73 10 1867-71 38 1942 225 178
1573-80 10 to 12 1871-73 64 to 72 1943 235 185
1580-1626 8 1872 42 1944 245 193
1580-1629 12 1873-82 46 1945 255 205
1626-39 8 to 10 1873-92 72 1946 295 238
1629-42 12 to 16 1883-86 48 1947 325 260
1639-46 10 to 12 1887 46 1948 330 265
1642-55 16 to 18 1888-93 48 1949 335 275
1646-93 12 1893-98 75 1950 340 285
1655-87 18 1894-1905 50 1951 370 315
1687-1701 18 to 20 1898-1913 80 1952 400 345
1693-1701 12 to 14 1906-12 55 1953 420 365
1701-10 20 to 22 14 to 15 1913-14 60 1954 445 390

MrC and I have both worked on both sides of the list, skilled and unskilled. At the moment MrC works as a Carer so he would be classed as skilled.This means an annual wage of 210 (pence… and per day) in 1940… which is  £13,600.00 per year today. Obviously we get more than that today. Cost of living and a rise in minimum wage means although £13600 is the modern day equivalent of the 210p a day in 1940, it isn’t really a good reflection of an adult annual wage (for skilled work) today for a craftsman. I got paid about that when I was just out of college and living with my mum… 12 years ago (as a data entry clerk). The tool I used to work out what the modern equivalent is below… in a link.

Ever wondered what something cost years ago… or what the value of an amount would be today? Well heres the link to do it. Go on you’ll want to see what your wage was in 1940… I bet you would have been better off than the labourer if not the craftsmen.

Live in 1940 and need to boost your income? Well if I had decided to work in a factory while the kids were at school in the 1940s I would have been paid £2 to £3 per week. Not allot now, £85 to £128 a week (For full time work)… but every little bit helps.

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