It may sound strange, but where I work most of the electricians are paid about the same. Their all within $2.00 of each other. The apprentices pay is based on a percentage of the " shop rate" . About 95% of our work is prevailing wage jobs , and the other 5% they are bidding at the same rates as prevailing wage. Us foreman make more then the non-foreman though. The company started doing it this way 11 years ago and so far it's working. Based on the pay rates they are paying; The "dead wood" does not survive very long here. They can only have people who know their stuff and get the job done right the first time. This type of pay system is not the norm for my area though.