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Math Postdoc or Custodian?
A market wage is one that makes sense to both parties: employees bargain to receive as much pay as possible for their skills, and employers pay as little as they can for labor. As supply and demand wax and wane, the wage paid out can vary.
How interesting that the College follows this rule to the letter in employing math postdocs. These scholars, who have received or are about to obtain a doctorate after four years of undergraduate study and four or five years in a Masters and then a Ph.D. program, are abundant, and many would like to work at the College as a step forward in their careers. If that’s their attitude, Dartmouth should pay them what we can get them for, and we do: only about $38,500 for eleven months work:
Good for the College for not wasting money in this area. That’s the kind of tightfisted approach that we need to keep tuition under control.
But what does Dartmouth do when it needs to hire a custodian? As you can see below, no education at all is required for this job; if you have pushed a mop for a year and play well with others, the position is yours.
And the wage, you ask? As you can see above, being a custodian is a Level C job. Look at what it pays:
$17.99/hour: that’s $37,419/year, including five weeks of paid vacation and personal time. Custodians who don’t work the first shift receive a shift differential of +$0.85/hour for the second shift and +$1.15/hour for the third shift. In short, evening custodians at Dartmouth earn more $1,311.20 more per year than math postdocs, and they receive an extra week of vacation in each calendar year.
I employ custodians at my local business. They are good people and they work hard, but they don’t cost us even half what they cost the College, especially when benefits are added to the mix. Why? Well, we pay the market wage for our custodians, just like Dartmouth does for postdocs specializing in number theory.
Do you still need to know why the cost of a Dartmouth education is unaffordable for most families? If not, here’s a hint: the College should pay its custodians what other custodians make in dozens of other businesses all over the Upper Valley. The members of the College’s custodial staff all know that they are benefiting from foolish largesse. If the administration wises up and resets salaries and benefits, the custodians will only wonder why it took Dartmouth so long to stop being unconscionably wasteful.
Addendum: The College’s Neukom Institute for Computational Science also hires postdocs, but at a sweeter salary level: $60k/year — over 50% more per annum than a Dartmouth custodian.
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