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The Break Room (Non-Technical Discussions)

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*Expert Elite*
CelticDesignServices
Posts: 517
Registered: ‎11-29-2011
Message 1 of 17 (316 Views)

What has happened to Pay Rates?

316 Views, 16 Replies
11-12-2013 01:02 PM

Sorry but I really just have to vent here once again.

It seems as time goes on, pay rates for jobs are trending lower and lower and lower.

 

I find this very disturbing on a couple of levels, one as an employer and two, as an employee.

I'm finding that jobs whether they are direct or contract these days are screaming for the best of the best as far as qualifications and then turn around and offer McDonald's Fry cook wages.

 

Less than 5 yrs ago I'd find requests for top level CAD Designers on Inventor getting upwards of $40 per hour. CAD Administrators pulling in rates of over $75 per hour. These were all 6 month plus contracts, no per diems, no bennies, etc., strick contract.

 

Today? Today I get requests or offers for these same types of people, one recently wanted a "very strong Inventor Design Engineer. Must be certified on Inventor, have extensive Sheet Metal experience along with Ansys" Long term contract, no per diem, no bennies, no relocation...maximum pay rate? Be sure you're sitting down and NOT drinking anything......

 

$18 ph.

 

That's right, a mere $18 ph hour is the maximum the company is willing to pay for this position.

I'm sorry, but I myself, as an employer can not afford to hire a person at those rates (consider a typical billing rate would be 35% more than the pay rate, not including any profit margin).

 

$18 ph hour are mid to late 1980's rates.

My business is failing to keep open because of employers like this doing nothing more than taking advantage of the unemployment situation and only looking at the short term benefits. For once the economy or employment start to pick up again, all those people they took advantage of are gonna be gone and the employer will be forced to start the process all over again, spending a ton of time and money advertising, recruiting and then training the candidate on their in-house processes, all while hoping the person actually picks it all up and becomes a valuable employee.

 

I'm sorry, but that is extremely poor business practice. That simply costs the company much more in the long run as opposed to paying a proper rate and not only getting, but maintaining the right candidate over the long haul. As we all know, each time a noobie comes in, everyone around them ends up having to hold their hands and guide them until they are able to work on their own, thus everyone that helps the noobie slows down a bit in their own production level. Why in the world would any decent manager put their department through that process on a regular basis?

 

Our rates are typically lower than my competition mainly becuase I don't have the overhead they do, but I still can't keep my employees working for those rates. I have people counting on me to find them work, including myself and I can't seriously look them in the face and ask them to relocate on their own dime 1/2 across the country for $18ph.

 

Anyone esle seeing this going on?

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Jim
Celtic Design Services, LLC

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Distinguished Mentor
steven-g
Posts: 598
Registered: ‎05-11-2009
Message 2 of 17 (298 Views)

Re: What has happened to Pay Rates?

11-13-2013 12:25 AM in reply to: CelticDesignServices

I know of companies in England, who for the last 5 years have not paid overtime rate, just flat rate, there are companies that won't even pay that, they have people working weekends and nights upwards of 60 hours for a standard 40 hour take home pay. And if you don't like it 'leave' because there are enough people who will do it.

Regards Steven Gray
Setting Out (Joinery Manufacturing)
Autocad 2013LT
Windows 7 professional
Distinguished Contributor
Wanderer-MOTD
Posts: 207
Registered: ‎03-04-2004
Message 3 of 17 (276 Views)

Re: What has happened to Pay Rates?

11-13-2013 10:45 AM in reply to: CelticDesignServices

Oh, don't get me started.

 

When I first started working in the industry, and I was approached about jobs that I didn't want, I would pass them onto friends who worked for our contractors/consultants, etc. Once I got into conversations with those guys about the pay rates of the jobs I'd passed on to them, they were dumbfounded, because their employers told them that the low wages they were getting were 'industry standard' (and this was before the economy took a nosedive).

I know it's considered impolite to talk about money, but, a dialog had to start.

That networking was a big reason why I started my LUG here back in the day, and why I spend so much time working on salary issues with AUGI.

 

When my husband was looking for work after we were married, he couldn't take any of the available jobs... the pay was NOT enough to cover daycare and transporation, so he became a stay at home parent, and we were just lucky that my job was stable.

There's a guru with 10 years of structural design experience and a degree in civil engineering, dropping out of the workforce... leaving the work to be done by whom?

 

When I was looking for work over the past few years myself (outside of the design/construction industry), I saw the same things in other fields. Quality control techs, technical editors, IT project managers... all of them had advertisements requiring a degree and years of experience and special skills... and offering what I made back when I was still in college. Certainly not enough to pay back my investment for school, let alone raise a family in the typical standard. It was really appalling. So many times my husband and I were reading through job openings with total incredulity due to the high expectations and low compensation.

 

Some areas we didn't see as much of a disconnect, many IT PMs and Programmers and some Data Analysts, but, I guess those are just hard enough to fill positions that they don't have a desperate un-or-under-employed labor force to draw from like the design industry has these days.

 

I think the last poll I ran indicated that 40% of AUGI members are currently looking to jump ship from their current employer. Employers need to stand up and take note of that. The industry as a whole suffers from the 'brain drain' of losing people like my friends and my husband.

Now those experienced minds are doing html or landscaping or service industry jobs and are so disgusted with the industry as a whole that they'll probably never go back...

and so the inefficiency that already plagues it will only get worse.

Melanie Perry
***not all those who wander are lost***
http://AUGI.com/Surveys
http://MistressOfTheDorkness.blogspot.com

My defunct profiles:
http://forums.autodesk.com/t5/user/viewprofilepage/user-id/651859
http://forums.autodesk.com/t5/user/viewprofilepage/user-id/644095
Valued Mentor
graemev
Posts: 302
Registered: ‎11-03-2011
Message 4 of 17 (267 Views)

Re: What has happened to Pay Rates?

11-13-2013 11:50 AM in reply to: CelticDesignServices

Thanks for the warning.  Would have sprayed my cola all over the screen!

 

$18/hr for Ansys technologist?!?!?  What are they smoking, and what's its street value?  This reminds me of the job market (no, I wasn't in it) back in the '70s during times of high unemployment and high inflation: "Wanted: 22 year old PhD with 15 years experience."

*Expert Elite*
dgorsman
Posts: 5,402
Registered: ‎10-12-2006
Message 5 of 17 (258 Views)

Re: What has happened to Pay Rates?

11-13-2013 03:23 PM in reply to: CelticDesignServices

I don't pay close attention to such things.  I do have to ask, what about the other side of the equation?  How much money are these companies brining in?  If the funding isn't there, the wages simply cannot follow.

 

And I do think its somewhat rediculous for a "fry cook" to be making that kind of money.  When that happens then there is the inevitable "Well I'm so much MORE, I should be making ___ times that amount!" which the economy can't necessarily support.  Other groups then jump on board with similar comparisons, and eventually everything spirals out of control.

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If you are going to fly by the seat of your pants, expect friction burns.
Adopt. Adapt. Overcome. Or be overcome.
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Valued Mentor
graemev
Posts: 302
Registered: ‎11-03-2011
Message 6 of 17 (256 Views)

Re: What has happened to Pay Rates?

11-13-2013 04:26 PM in reply to: dgorsman

What is earned ought to be in relation to the local cost of living.  (So should the minimum wage, but that's a whole other wax ball.)  That being said, there's a supply and demand factor included in all wage negotiations.  (Note that all job interviews are a negotiation.  Desperation is not a good bargaining position, but sometimes that's where one is starting from.)

 

In Fort McMurray, AB, the local cost of living is huge.  $1000 per month for a basement room.  Not a suite.  A room.  Everything up there is, by extension, more expensive.  Tim Hortons pays substantially more there compared to the same job in Edmonton or Calgary.  What would be a good, comfortable income in Edmonton would see you homeless and hungry in Fort McMurray.

 

If I were offered $18/hr for what I do (machine design) and for the experience and skill set I bring to the job?  I'd snicker in the interview and ask them to call me when they get tired of useless CAD-monkeys who don't contribute the value and content they are actually asking for.  When they get serious about what they actually need, they know my number.

*Expert Elite*
sam_m
Posts: 598
Registered: ‎11-05-2003
Message 7 of 17 (242 Views)

Re: What has happened to Pay Rates?

11-14-2013 01:52 AM in reply to: graemev

The issue is further complicated this side of the pond...

 

For some reason it seems like the term "engineer" has lost its meaning here and has become a loose term for a range of "hands on" jobs...  The concept of an engineer being someone with an engineering degree/qualification/experience is a joke...

 

e.g. a "gas appliance engineer" - for someone who services the gas boiler...  I just remembered, I was speaking to someone the other day who said they were a "landscape engineer" and I asked what that involved and what he actually did - drive a digger...  wtf!!!

 

So, with the "engineering" section of any jobs paper/website now filled with such non-engineering jobs the perception of what an engineer is has been devalued even more, and will only ripple on into our wages...

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*Expert Elite*
Charles_Shade
Posts: 8,204
Registered: ‎04-10-2005
Message 8 of 17 (234 Views)

Re: What has happened to Pay Rates?

11-14-2013 04:55 AM in reply to: sam_m

Shelf Replenishment Engineer

 

Work may no longer be pride in a job well done; rather it is what Title is held.

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Distinguished Contributor
Wanderer-MOTD
Posts: 207
Registered: ‎03-04-2004
Message 9 of 17 (221 Views)

Re: What has happened to Pay Rates?

11-14-2013 06:55 AM in reply to: dgorsman
dgorsman,

It's a viscious circle, isn't it? A company can't be productive and profitable and able to win repeat jobs without a skilled workforce. With unskilled people they could take much longer to produce the same amount of work, or take the same amount of time to produce substandard work. So, they can't afford to pay wages enough to lure in the best workers and increase their profit margin and the problem could only get worse for them.
You know, unless they get lucky and someone is desperate for a job, but, that someone will jump ship as soon as the market improves.

~shrugs~ Those issues are certainly why I'll never be a business owner. I'd rather criticise the process than figure out how to balance it. :smileywink:
Melanie Perry
***not all those who wander are lost***
http://AUGI.com/Surveys
http://MistressOfTheDorkness.blogspot.com

My defunct profiles:
http://forums.autodesk.com/t5/user/viewprofilepage/user-id/651859
http://forums.autodesk.com/t5/user/viewprofilepage/user-id/644095
*Expert Elite*
dgorsman
Posts: 5,402
Registered: ‎10-12-2006
Message 10 of 17 (215 Views)

Re: What has happened to Pay Rates?

11-14-2013 07:39 AM in reply to: graemev

I can appreciate that.  Rental here in Calgary is *very* low supply with rates going through the roof as a result.

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If you are going to fly by the seat of your pants, expect friction burns.
Adopt. Adapt. Overcome. Or be overcome.
A good question will be halfway to a good answer.


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