Lately pundits across the spectrum have been concerned about the changes wrought on our economy by technological innovation, which has gutted manufacturing jobs (and which now seems to be transforming even professional fields like law). Service jobs, which are gradually taking the place of manufacturing jobs as the principle type of blue collar employment, are often deemed “servile”, and many commentators doubt they can provide good livings to workers displaced from other fields. But some service jobs today yield surprisingly good salaries, as a recent BBC article shows:
A good dog walker, for instance, can make a mint, according to Aaron Boodman. “Our dog walker charges $25/session,” Boodman wrote. “He takes up to eight dogs walking at a time (soon to be the legal limit in my city), twice a day. That’s $96k per year, much of it in cash. Once he’s picked up and dropped off all the dogs, each run to the dog park takes about three hours round trip. So his workday is about six hours.”One anonymous pool boy said he made more than $60,000, plus tips, for just six months of work. “I would charge a customer $40 a week to keep their pools clean and all the chemicals balanced. This usually took me about 45 minutes a trip,” he wrote.
These cases may seem isolated or not representative, but these people aren’t alone. Take company like Uber, a service enabled by entrepreneurial technological development that now provides very good salaries to its drivers. Extreme pessimism about technological change is belied by these hints that the new economy will include jobs that may be service-related—but also well remunerated and in high demand. As the service sector continues to grow, and supply and demand adjust to each other, we will see many more jobs like these become available to a larger number of workers.