Koewn mentioned over in Merchant Venturer Mogul that ruffians have different wages, which I had not noticed, and is useful for my hideout calculations!
However, only 1st and 4th level thieves are listed as ruffians. What do you pay a 2nd or 3rd level thief? If 2nd and 3rd level thieves are paid the same as normal henchmen, this might do explain some of the weirdness of hideout math, namely how a guild of all spies is ludicrously profitable; a 4th level thief has an expected hijink income/wage ratio of 3.4 (thanks to their monthly wage being only 125 gp).
The second highest is a third level thief at 2. 0, 1, 2, 7, and 8 are all below 1. (I note for those who might be confused, like me earlier, that the monthly table includes the cost of wages. So this does not mean that having 0-level thieves loses you money, it just means that they make very little profit relative to their wage.)
The wages of the spy are also a bit less than half their GP/XP Threshold (300gp) (while the level 1 thieves are equal).
Mercenary officers from D@W:C get henchman wages, war is hell and all that.
Another data point is the Man: Merchant entry - their sergeants and leaders are paid less than henchmen wages:
The ‘sergeants’ (3rd level fighters) get 50gp, and the ‘leaders’ (5th level fighters) get 200gp.
(That data is from a conversation with Alex off the board, I should have remembered that in my other post, cause I’m off a bit from that)
I wager much of what we see is an artifact of rules development, but I think going forward that an agreed-upon wage scale for “non-adventuring, non-hench, leveled characters” is something that might be useful for a whole host of things.
My personal theory is that thief hireling wages are linked to their lower XP and so are lower than hench values which are based on average XP/level. To approximate divide the XP for a given level by 33.
Maybe it’s assumed that all spies are double agents. You are paying half their wage and someone else is paying the other half.