How Much Yuh Mek?(How much money do you make?)
One of the tightly guarded secrets of Jamaica is how much an individual earns from their job. Getting salary information has proven to range from hard to extremely difficult. Due to this, many individuals have no idea how much a particular role pays until they are interviewed for a role or after being told they got the job. This results in a lot of time being wasted since the new job may pay significantly less than the previous/current one.
Seeing this issue, we partnered with JamaicanSalaries.com to give the general public an idea of the salary ranges for different roles. The Jamaican Salaries website aims to “Normalise discussing salaries and finances”. Note: the salaries quoted in this article are Monthly Gross and in Jamaican Dollars.
This tweet by user Mekidoll kicked off a discussion about salaries. Growing up in Jamaica, we often heard that becoming a lawyer/doctor would grant you a life of riches and respect. It was shocking for many to hear about lawyers getting paid $165,000 per month. An individual responded to the tweet saying that doctors get paid about the same. How is it that people earning that amount are constantly seen driving expensive vehicles and living in big houses? A tweet from 2018 also shared information regarding lawyer salaries.
Her $100,000 estimate is quite shocking since law school costs about 1.5 million per year(US $10,000 p.a). That cost does not include any miscellaneous fee for example residing on a hall of residence. Law school goes on for 3 years for a full-time student so in total, the fee would be 4.5 million(US $30,000) excluding any miscellaneous fees. After paying so much for University it was surprising to many that some lawyers started with a salary of $165,000 or less.
Jamaican Salaries Data
Jamaican Salaries is a crowdsourced platform where individuals anonymously submit data about their salary, benefits, stress level, job title, employment type, company name, and any additional comments. This data is then peer-reviewed. The salary data is free for anyone to view and the website also has information on Useful Resources, Careers, Donations/Charities, Financial Literacy, and Additional Income.
The salary data is the most popular thing on the website. As of the writing of this article, there have been 442 submissions to the website. It must be stated that the information presented is based on what was submitted to the website.
Let’s start by looking at the sectors that most of the responders work in. About 65.3% of them work in the Telecommunication, Government, Information Technology, Banking, Finance, Engineering, Healthcare, or Education sector. With the highest single percentage coming from the Information Technology Sector. This sector has a wide range of jobs and is very lucrative which shows most of the salary ranges above $150,000.
About 78.2% of responders earn at least $150,000 or above. This is a reflection of the types of persons who submitted salary information. This means that the rest of the responders earn less than $150,000. It should be noted that some of the responders are interns who earned about $70,000 – $120,000. There were a few outliers that earned $500,000 – $900,000 which accounted for 8.7% of the results.
Unsurprisingly, the majority of responders were Full-Time employees which accounted for 73.6%. Contract workers took up the second spot with 8.8%. There are often job advertisements that state the role of a contractor. It is important to note that an intern(1.9% of the responders) at a corporate Jamaica workplace could be earning more or the same, as a government worker in a full-time job.
Job Titles from the information technology(I.T) sector dominated the results. There was a wide range of titles outside of I.T that helped to diversify the results. An initiative like this needs to get as many responses from as wide of a pool as possible. This way we can gain a clearer picture of how much a particular role pays at one institution compared to another.
The demand for salary data in Jamaica is certainly high, especially when tweets like the one mentioned earlier in the article trigger a discussion. The Jamaican Salaries website saw a surge in visits over the last couple of weeks. Several new submissions were added to the website as well. One issue I had with the data was a lack of diversity, which of course is no fault of the website itself. More individuals need to share salary data so that we can gain a better insight into how much these roles are paying. I would love to see how much on average a carpenter, barber, plumber, ‘fruits man’, and vendor earns monthly.
We tend to look down on certain careers without ever trying to figure out how much these people actually earn. I have heard that a ‘good’ skilled individual is hard to find. If that person monetizes themself properly and keeps up a certain level of quality then he would not be short of work. I could go as far as saying that skilled individuals can make more money than some doctors, lawyers, and other ‘high-end’ careers.
For us to know what’s possible, we would need to have an open and honest discussion about salaries. Many students put themselves in debt to pursue a career that neither pays much nor is in high demand. This is done because they just don’t know how much these careers pay due to how secretive the topic is. There are organizations where employees are doing the same job but don’t get paid the same amount for varying reasons. If that information were to come to light then there would be some issues however, we must move forward as a society.
Encourage every person you know to contribute to the website. Ultimately, what Jamaica needs is a Glassdoor counterpart. Given the user numbers shown to me by the Jamaican Salaries website, whoever can make a ‘Glassdoor clone’ will become very wealthy and help to push the country forward.