I like to start with high initial wages, 8 for grunts, 12 for grads. Who exactly is going to build all that stuff you plunk down with your initial $10,000? Higher wages mean higher immigration, and on the harder levels anyway, carribean average starts off at 8, so I always start at that. I give raises every year or two, up to a point. Keeping people happy pays off in increased immegration and productivity.
I try to usually increase the pay for grads first, to 15-18, and grunts to 10-12. College grads get 25 at the start: there aren't many college jobs or grads at first, and the grads you have, you really want to keep.
The thing is, pay is not a set it, forget it thing. The Caribbean average is always climbing. Job quality decreases quite a bit if pay is below the Caribbean average, and happier people work faster and better.
As far as tourism goes, I can't see waiting, or starting up a huge tourist area all at once, as superior strategies, though I haven't tried it that way.
I usually build a pub, a single cheap hotel, close the slots, build a beach site and a scenic viewpoint, then open the hotel.
Remember, in the time you have been building up your massive, all-at-once tourist empire, my people have been learning their trades. When I open my first luxery hotel, I have enough trained maids to staff it and keep the upscale crowd happy with the quality of service.
What I do at that point depends on the Island's suitability for mass tourism. If it has a sizeable area of natural scenic beauty, good. Find the flatest area on the leeward coast of the island and make a beeline for it. At the same time, build another development thrust towards the pretty area, but take a little more time to develop profitable areas and housing along the way. That airport is going to take a while to build.
Once at the (soon-to-be) tourist area, build a dock if the airport isn't done, some attractions to make the area more attractive to higher class tourism, and then a hotel.
I like to put most of the attractions in between the airport and the hotels.
Another tourism strategy more suitable for mountainous islands, as it isn't as profitable, is the multiple dock strategy. Keep building yacht only docks, keeping only two slots open, as you develop your tourism in a circle around the islands. Forget about an airport until later. Forget about clustering attractions between the airport and the hotels. Build alternating clusters of attractions near the docks, then a cluster of hotels, then more attractions and a dock, and so on. Build houses to hold the tourists inland of that, and farms to feed the workers inland of that. Put your college, cathedral, and media in the middle.
On most islands with a sizeable and profitable tourist business, I end up with college grads getting 35-40 a month, hs grads getting 25-35 a month, and uneducated 15-25 a month. I have no qualms with paying a construction worker at a distant site building, say, an airport 25 a month even in 1960.
Any workers at buildings set at sweatshop or special-op get more than easy-does-it.
I have also experimented with setting a very high initial pay rate at buildings I want filled immediately, then lowering it. As long as I'm not lowering it below the island average, the workers seem okay with it, meaning their job satisfaction level isn't any lower than it would be if I'd set the pay to the lower rate to begin with, nor is their respect for me. They seem to understand the concept of 'signing bonuses.'
I wouldn't do it for military buildings, though. Military types are pretty touchy about their pay.