I lived in Deutchland for a while when I was a Young Pup. Airline Pilot is like a really well paid and respected Electrician over there. It's a Skilled Labor job. Which, IMHO, is why they tend to crash more than we do. In broad terms, they labor under the impression that driving and airplane is like operating a drill press...to wit, anyone can do it with the correct Training.
For my own part, I think it's more like, I dunno, being an exterminator or a chimney-sweep. Sure you can train for it, but being really good at it has to do more with Experience than Training. It's a blue-collar job, deep down, but that doesn't mean that it isn't Skilled. *shrug* For my part, I'll hang my hat on the fact that "per ASM" we crash a lot less than anyone else in the world, and that's in spite of our second-world payscales.