Yes, I do believe that there is a certain amount of S+D figured into the pay equation. And let's look at some of the history of the demographics on the supply side.
When many of us started teaching, probably 90% of the supply came from the younger side. Ex- jr racers, college drop outs and grads, students on hiatus, and just simply young people with a passion for the sport. We literally jumped at the opportunity to ski instruct for any of a thousand reasons. But only the few Euro's that were around ever considered it a career.
The ski school directors of the time, many of whom actually owned the schools, could be very selective of who they "let in". (I was one of 4 selected out of 35 candidates) There was a certain amount of prestige associated with the job, a few discounts, and all the skiing you could handle (supposedly). $4.50 p/h for group lssns + 40% of pvts was the going rate for an apprentice that season, with the top pros making about $12.00 + 60%. All of this, with no guarantees. But you were made to feel part of the "family". Everybody knew everybody, and if something was wrong, the "family" fixed it. We supported each other. The instructors had much more say about some issues, because we had such a direct impact upon the earnings of the owner. There was incredible growth in the number of skiers/students during those years, and we all did ok.
During the late 70's/ early 80's, the areas came to realize that there was a large amount of revenue changing hands on their hills, and they were only getting a very small percentage of it. Wanting a larger piece of that pie, most ski areas assumed control of the ski schools.
Enter the beginnings of the Corporate Ski School.
Now, rather than the owner running the school and taking what was left after the bills were paid, the areas enacted stricter budgets, with expected bottom line profits. This usually resulted in reduced funding to aspects which were deemed non-revenue generating or expenses, such as training, decent uniforms, etc..
The pay scales didn't really change, and the "family" began to disappear. We lost the ability to affect our own futures, as the managers were hidden away in high offices, rather than standing right next to us at line up. And each instructor began to be more concerned about his/her next paycheck, rather than the health of the entire school.
But we kept doing it!
Then came the Corporatization of the ski areas themselves. The Mom + Pop and small company owned areas many of us began at were purchased and combined with others, as larger corporations came to stake their territories within the industry.
As the scale of these corporations grew, so did the number of skiers visiting them. As we know, these were not new skiers, just a re-apportionment of the skiers (and subsequently- boarders) that already existed.
This required even larger numbers of instructors to meet the needs of the guests.
Where does the current crop of instructors come from? Maybe 30-40% still come from the aforementioned ranks. Another 30% are 2nd career instructors. Individuals who have had a full career in other industries, have retired, and want to take advantage of their available time to do things they feel are interesting.
The remainder are part of the ever growing influx of foreign instructors, many working back-to-back seasons. There we have the make-up of the current ski school.
But at the same time, the degree of selectivity that once existed is much broader. Many areas will now accept into their ranks almost anyone that applies. As larger areas reap the benefits of the migration of developing instructors from smaller areas, those same small areas are crying out for more instructors.
This in turn continues the descending spiral, as those areas begin to soften their hiring standards, in order to fill uniforms.
The common denominator at this point is that regardless how, or from where, these slots are being filled. The customer is getting an instructor and the companies are generating revenue. But as the money moves around, less and less flows as far as the instructors. Even in a large area such as Vail/ Beaver Creek, the highest paid private instructor might make 45%, and that only at the end of the season, when incentive points have been built up.
Does Supply and Demand affect our pay scales? Most certainly!
Does this process have an effect on the professionalism of instructors?
Again- most certainly.