Check out this job advert:
These guys are advertising for a 'grower'. By definition, this person will be trained at the very least. And, to be confident enough to take on their role, they will have to have experience. £15-20K??? Can you raise a family on that? Can you afford a reasonable - REASONABLE - lifestyle on that sort of money? Frankly; NO! £15K is £7.21/hour on a 40 hour week or £7.79 per hour on a 37 hour week. That is floor sweeping money. You can't legally pay much less.
This is just an example of the long-standing disdain that the horticultural trade is held in.
Today, in a world where very few people are prepared to get their hands dirty, practical skills are becoming rarer. Surely now the time has come for practical, skilled tradespeople to assert themselves on the market. Any business is only as good as the staff it employs. If you employ unskilled, clueless staff your product will suffer.
I strongly feel that this sort of pay grade is barely defensible in today's economy, regardless of your trade or profession. But to require someone to have skills and experience and to settle for such a crippling wage is simply exploitative.
If you are a horticultural graduate I would urge you to shun this sort of 'opportunity'. If you are an employer I strongly urge you to look to your business model. You aren't doing your business any favours and you are casting your business in a very bad light. Your clients would be appalled to know what you are paying skilled staff - I know; I have had to have the uncomfortable discussions with clients on behalf of a previous employer myself.
Our market is divided between expenditure bands. The nationwide companies, cutting grass on a 3% margin and employing seasonal staff can get away with paying 'living wage' or less - although your middle management will spend a stupid proportion of their time firefighting and handling complaints - maybe that's the role you've given them, but it's hardly productive.
If you're catering to the private sector your clients are probably expecting more. You won't get anything from someone who's content to work for minimum wage. You need people with drive and ambition. AND skills. £7.70/hr to, at best £10.39 per hour for a 37hr week? Think about it,
If you consider that your client base would choose not to afford the fees necessary to pay your staff according to their skills then maybe you shouldn't be attempting to work for them. Would you, as a sole trader, work for peanuts? Not unless you were content to live in poverty, work yourself to early decrepitude, and stay exactly in that hopeless, futureless position to the day you retired to your sheltered accommodation.
Our trade needs to pull itself up to the paying rank of all the other practical trades. The skills are different and many people think they can do it. However, they are paying us to do work they don't want to do. Furthermore, as any knowledgeable tradesman will be able to tell you, there's a world of difference between (for instance) being able to use a pair of secateurs and knowing how and when to prune a particular shrub/fruit bush/fruit tree.
Pay trained staff decent, incentivising pay. Our entire trade will benefit, from the individuals at the coal face to the trade's attractiveness to intelligent, driven applicants. Our output will improve and the paying clients will eventually respect skill and knowledge.