Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Are you a waste of space?

If you are earning less than £27,000, according to the government, you are not a net contributor to the economy.

“I didn’t join the archives profession to aid the economy”, we hear you say. Quite. Most archivists are women married to higher earning male professionals (see our previous blog Career Guidance) so they are well positioned to tread water. But that’s no excuse, we have it on good authority that archivists must contribute to the economy.

The authority of the National Archives of Scotland (formerly the Scottish Record Office) no less. In an advertisement for a post of archivist placed in The Guardian of 11 September 2006, NAS states they “play an important part in Scotland’s economic and cultural life. The property market depends on our legal services…..”

SQA notes with some concern the salary band within which the successful candidate is to be appointed. You guessed it, £21,292-£27,640.

Thus, despite NAS’s apparently crucial role in supporting Scotland’s economy and property market, we have evidence not only of the understated and down-played role of the archivist but also an inability on the part of employers including the civil service to create cultural heritage posts in accordance with economic conditions.

SQA is confident the majority of archivists are earning below or around £27,000 which is a statement of their perceived relevance to society and government. It would have been useful to see NAS set an example. It is no compensation that NAS states “in the absence of an archive qualification you will be expected to study for one.” In any case we note NAS does not say qualify, merely study.

We also note with some sense of irony that despite NAS contributing to Scotland’s economy and the stated need for an archives qualification at the time of applying or after appointment, there is only one archives training school in Scotland, at Dundee. Even then, this course is by distance only and so much for Scotland supporting its own economy by training archivists. As regards recruiting home-trained (and qualified) archivists it looks like the poor old English tax payer will again be subsidising the Scots though the London and Liverpool courses.

NAS is aided and abetted by the Society of Archivists [sic] which recommends a starting salary of £20,295


Asylum seekers queuing outside Cheshire Record Office


The figure of £27,000 is derived from a report produced in conformity with European Union directives, the Labour Force Survey. We are glad to see the report has backfired on the EU and its puppet government in the UK in that Sir Andrew Green of MigrationWatch immediately noticed the anomaly between the frequent claims made by the Home Office that immigrants were contributing to the economy and the fact that according to the report 80% of immigrants earn less than £27,000 p.a.

Immigrants are therefore net beneficiaries of the state in other words are not contributing to the economy. The MigrationWatch briefing paper Migrants - Do they bring economic benefit? 1.1 can be read here

Consequently archivists may take some cheer from the fact archivists are as much spongers on the economy as immigrants are.

For further reading on archivists’ concerns about immigration, see our earlier blog Save our Cultural Heritage

Earlier blogs

Scottish Bollocks

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