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Thread: Another "shortage of machinists" story...

  1. #21
    SND
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    Funny how all it takes to make a job " highly skilled and technical " is a pricier machine than the last.

    Those darn unskilled workers that were a dime a dozen right off the street who made parts using those old lathes and presses, but that were actually getting paid more 20yrs ago than any of those highly skilled technical positions offer today.


    If you lose an employee for every new one you bring in, maybe its because you're bringing in a new employee for more $/hr than you were paying the one that's been there for 6yrs so he quits? or he figures "I didn't get a raise in 3yrs and they have the money to hire another one? eff them."

    There's never any money when you're there, but when you quit they can afford to bring in someone else at 2x the salary.
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  2. #22
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    The problem with many companies is in the fact that they don't understand people and see employees--regardless the skill-set--as expendables.

    And the employees know it.

  3. #23
    S_W_Bausch is offline Diamond
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chobyn View Post
    “The problem is as soon as we get someone in, one of our other guys will jump ship,” said Tyson De Jonge, engineering manager at Engine Power Components. “They get better offers.”

    Gotta love this closing line in the article....If they are getting better offers and you want to keep them, then counter offer something good.
    Too late at that point, and that's not exactly my opinion, it's an opinion I found in a survey, a while ago, but I suspect what I will relate will be borne out by other members:

    Other workers will get jealous.

    It's only to keep the worker around long enough to hire a cheaper worker.

    It's only to keep the worker around long enough to train a cheaper worker.

    It's only to keep the worker around long enough to outsource the work.


    I also suspect what is irritating these employers is they KNOW where a skilled worker is, and they REFUSE to either use him as a vendor, or agree to their compensation requirements, or their staffing requirements, such as "fire that asshole in purchasing".
    Last edited by S_W_Bausch; 02-22-2012 at 10:01 PM.

  4. #24
    CougarMountain is offline Hot Rolled
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    I don't think the problem is only with company's hiring practices. All the "free" money that the Government keeps handing out in unemployment extentions is limiting the amount of workers that "want" to go to work. Just this week, a job was offered to a person I know, and he turned it down because he just received a 63 week extension, at $500 a week. IF, he took the job, and was laid off a short time later, the benefits would be lost, and he would have to start a new claim, at less then $100 week.

    Great incentive to get people back to work.......NOT
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  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by CougarMountain View Post
    I don't think the problem is only with company's hiring practices. All the "free" money that the Government keeps handing out in unemployment extentions is limiting the amount of workers that "want" to go to work. Just this week, a job was offered to a person I know, and he turned it down because he just received a 63 week extension, at $500 a week. IF, he took the job, and was laid off a short time later, the benefits would be lost, and he would have to start a new claim, at less then $100 week.

    Great incentive to get people back to work.......NOT
    Statistics don't quite agree with this. Regardless who we may know that's a lazy bum, living off unemployment and enjoying it.

    Fact is, most of these people were working a few years ago and of no fault of their own, are now either unemployed or vastly underemployed. Their 'benefits' don't exactly cover their mortgages, car payments and other expenses. I'm sure most would prefer to get back to work, so they might enjoy a standard of living they worked so many years achieving.

    I certainly couldn't live off unemployment without making a LOT of sacrifices as I'm sure most here can relate.
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  6. #26
    Tyler Malovich is offline Plastic
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    I love the company I work at. Out sole HR person in the US, for engineering, is the owner of the company. No this is not a small company but it is unique in the sense that 80% of the workers have a BS in something and are required to assemble the machines that they design. How many employees are there in the company you might ask? 482. I'll bet that 350 of them were first contacted, interviewed, and then hired by the owner who is extremely active in his company. He doesn't even have an office with a door, he doesn't even have an office, just a desk in the middle of the engineering department and is easily approachable by anybody in the company. What do we do? Design and build small and very large machines for automated aerospace manufacturing. The machine I'm working on will have a footprint of 140'x60'.

    The problem is that too many companies have Boards stacked on CEO's stacked on presidents stacked on VP's stacked on managers stacked on managers stacked on managers stacked on minions. I feel way too many companies have a hierarchical structure rather than a flat structure and it creates a huge disconnect between the top and bottom of the organization.

  7. #27
    borne2fly is offline Hot Rolled
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    Problems like this tend to start at the top. Most workers were doing a fine job until they got their pink slips. I'm not sure how we arrived at a situation where American labor was placed in naked competition with the slave labor of China, but that's the problem. Inadequate import protections? Add to this the currency manipulation and outright theft taking place over there, and we never stood a chance.
    Is American labor always going to be placed in direct competition with whatever third-world Pit currently offers the lowest wages on Earth? And still be expected to pay American prices for everything from homes to medicine? HA! Maybe now that even Uncle Sam is feeling the pinch ("Gee, what happened to all my tax money? All my constituents are broke and I can't tax China ....") something might change in a decade or two. I always liked the idea of outsourcing the Execs ..... these guys get 325 times a line workers wages. Outsourcing those overpriced clowns would probably be enough to re-employ the whole country There's no shortage of machinists, only a shortage of American machinists who can live on Chinese wages.

  8. #28
    jim rozen is offline Diamond
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    "All the "free" money that the Government keeps handing out in unemployment extentions is limiting the amount of workers that "want" to go to work."

    Yah right. Stop all unemployment benefits dead right now, and that yo-yo will get
    a hundred skilled tool and die makers beating down his door for 12 bucks an hour.

    What planet are you from sir?
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  9. #29
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    We are ready to hire another full time machinist - hours are your preference, we need 8 hours a day some time between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm - later if you coordinate with someone else so you aren't working alone. In the spirit of DBurnette's post - one of our better machinists has a degree in art. He clearly had an eye for how things should be done and was a self taught machinist and welder - we sent him to SolidWorks training and moved him into engineering. He is one of the more talented mechanical designers I have worked with and now he gets to see what it is like to produce drawings for "picky" machinists!

    Shop is clean, well lit, machines are OLD but in good repair and well tooled with 5-ton overhead crane coverage. A Whacheon CNC Turning Center, A TREE J425 CNC w/newer controls, CNC Plasma table, CNC planer mill, two manual lathes (Holbrook and Mori) and two manual knee mills all with DROs and a variety of other machines (bandsaws, coldsaw, presses, welders, grinders) along with company supplied measuring instruments . . . hourly range is 18 - 24 / hour depending on whether you need hand holding or you can direct others.

    We have two highly skilled machinists and two helpers now - we need another skilled machinist who can run both manual and CNC machines.

    We build mostly low volume specialty machines and retrofit packages (motor mounts, drivetrain components, etc.) If you get bored easily, this is the place for you. If you like to do the same thing every day, over and over . . . this place will push you to the point of a nervous breakdown.

  10. #30
    PDW
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    Quote Originally Posted by motion guru View Post
    We are ready to hire another full time machinist - hours are your preference, we need 8 hours a day some time between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm - later if you coordinate with someone else so you aren't working alone. In the spirit of DBurnette's post - one of our better machinists has a degree in art. He clearly had an eye for how things should be done and was a self taught machinist and welder - we sent him to SolidWorks training and moved him into engineering. He is one of the more talented mechanical designers I have worked with and now he gets to see what it is like to produce drawings for "picky" machinists!

    Shop is clean, well lit, machines are OLD but in good repair and well tooled with 5-ton overhead crane coverage. A Whacheon CNC Turning Center, A TREE J425 CNC w/newer controls, CNC Plasma table, CNC planer mill, two manual lathes (Holbrook and Mori) and two manual knee mills all with DROs and a variety of other machines (bandsaws, coldsaw, presses, welders, grinders) along with company supplied measuring instruments . . . hourly range is 18 - 24 / hour depending on whether you need hand holding or you can direct others.

    We have two highly skilled machinists and two helpers now - we need another skilled machinist who can run both manual and CNC machines.

    We build mostly low volume specialty machines and retrofit packages (motor mounts, drivetrain components, etc.) If you get bored easily, this is the place for you. If you like to do the same thing every day, over and over . . . this place will push you to the point of a nervous breakdown.
    Now, *that* is a great example of how to write a job ad targeted at getting the type of person you need.

    Opportunities for cross training & promotion if you're up to it: tick.

    Description of work environment & tooling: tick.

    Pretty good flexibility on hours: tick.

    Pay range applicable: tick.

    Personality type who'd be a good fit with requirements & team: tick.

    Why, oh why, can't more people do this when looking for staff?

    MG, hope you get another winner who makes you money, makes him money and enjoys his job & workmates.

    PDW

  11. #31
    CougarMountain is offline Hot Rolled
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    My point wasn't about stopping unemployment insurance, but the government policy of suspending the extended benifits when a person goes back to work. What incentive does a person have to take a new job, not knowing if it is going to last, giving up a sure paycheck. A bird in the hand.......
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  12. #32
    iwananew10K is offline Titanium
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    there`s no shortage of "highly skilled" machinists...yet.
    but it`s coming- if the wages being offered don`t rise enough to coax these guys back so they can pass on the skillsets to a new generation the skills will be lost.
    we don`t have shop in most high schools anymore to generate interest in the younger generation. maybe those classes weren`t too expensive after all...
    the guys i know of that fit the description are not even in the field anymore.
    a guy that made $30+ 20 years ago coming back to make $20?? - it`s not going to happen.

    i certainly feel for a lot of owners that just can`t afford to pay more. it`s a bad situation for all.

    we need a lot of change in a lot of areas- particularly in the way we think- got to look past short term gains.

    as far as China-i don`t blame them, though i don`t condone or deny what they do.
    imagine... a communist country beating everyone else(well,not everyone) in the game of capitalism...
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  13. #33
    gorrilla is offline Stainless
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBurnette View Post
    I have no pity for many of these companies.

    Supply and demand: Need the workers? Pay more. Sucks if accounting 'only budgeted for $15/hour'. I only budgeted $10,000 for a car. Ford hasn't dropped my 'Stang off yet...

    Also, HR departments are clueless, and filter out all sorts of qualified applcants because they don't have the magic buzzwords or narrow skillset on the resume. There are such things as transferable skills.

    I know a farm kid with tractor repair experience, some mechanical assembly experience, and experience programming macros for spreadsheets (farms are complicated these days). He could slide right into a CNC operator position with minimal training. G43, G54, M8, etc. He would get in a day, and some company would be happy that he knows how to tighten a bolt.

    I know a soon-to-be theatre major who would do quality work, but "built set and lit a production of XYZ Play" doesn't cut it with HR, even if the grid had 200-300 amps of lamps hanging, even if he was trusted to rig a fly system...

    I know an artist who hand-carves and hand-registers multiple printing blocks against eachother to a few thou...And would have no trouble getting a part properly against the vise stop. Right there is half the battle for many entry-level CNC operator trainees.

    These companies need to start looking at transferable skills, personality traits (attention to detail, quick comprehension, not on meth etc.), and stop letting HR use buzzwords or overly strict skills criteria to screen people. Yes, they might take some training, but the right people are ready, willing and waiting for the opportunity.

    Oh, and supply/demand. It changes wages...Not just for C-level MBAs.

    /rant.
    I can sympathize with many of your points, and a lot of it stems from HR not having a real clue about what they're looking for or at as far as machinists and operators go. They have a set of qualifications given to them on paper, and that's what they look for. Stems from a lot fewer people having a broad skill set in their own resume. They can do their office job, and that's as far as their experience can take them. Not really their fault, as that's all they were trained for. But it creates a blind spot.
    Second problem comes from a systemic "starving down" of the experience pool that was out there, both intellectually and physically. Keeping the workforce trained up in evolving methods and processes has been neglected both in the boardroom and in the minds of the workers for lots of years. Reasons for this range from economics to the idea that "I can do this job , there's no reason to keep up with new ways to do it". There's a guy locally, used to work in the physics department of a very large university, in their machine shop. Story is he was the only one there that understood the CNCs. Lot's of old dinosaurs there that flat refused to retrain and pick it up. This was an extreme case, but indicative of the problem. They figured they could live out their careers and not have to pick up any new skills. Or they figured that even if they did, their paycheck wouldn't reflect the work required to retrain. Both are reasons that could be attributed to the aforementioned reasons to not keep up with evolution. Both are shortsighted, but if somebody wasn't being shortsighted, we wouldn't be having this discussion.
    Third problem is sort of related to the HR experience shortage. Somewhere along the way, manufacturing has let itself get the rep as being dark and dirty and dangerous. And it can be. Has been. But it doesn't have to be. I've raised two sons. Both have gotten over their preconceptions about work in general, and machine work in particular, because they've been around it for a while. One works in fiber optics installation, the other works with me in the shop. But both came out of high school with the idea that they were gonna get some high paying job in an office somewhere, and working in some machine shop was shunned like the plague. Reality set in(fortunately) when they looked at paying their own bills and getting the MBA that the office job required. Not everyone is cut out to be an investment banker. And the worst rap that machine work has gotten as far as attracting this new talent has come from that long physical starvation that has been happening for so long. I know, not many are loosing weight from it, but leaving wages at 1980's levels works to stare down the worked pool. When a kid can't keep up with inflation, and machinist have been falling further down for years compared to where we were once, relatively, in the overall scale of wages. That "starves out" the pool of potential machinists out there.
    Ok. Now MY rant is over. I'll sit down and shut up.

  14. #34
    Gary E is online now Diamond
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    Agree with all you've said untill this....
    Quote Originally Posted by iwananew10K View Post
    we need a lot of change in a lot of areas- particularly in the way we think- got to look past short term gains.
    If there are no short term gains, there never will be long term gains....

    The US is hedded to the level of the low cost producer... and only when the low cost producer demands and gets price improvements in their wages and manufactured items will the US wages rise...

    Going to Hell in a Handbasket ring any bells???

    There was an interview this morning on CNBC, some restaurant fellow, said his Co started out as a Hot Dog Cart....it's now over 1900 restaurants

    In the mean time, the Hot Dog Cart will do better.....


    Does Moscow still have that nice boat ramp?... I used that a lot back in the 60's...

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary E View Post
    Agree with all you've said untill this....

    If there are no short term gains, there never will be long term gains....
    Yes, but American companies are notorious for focusing myopically on short term gains at the (great) expense of long-term gains.

    I.e.: outsourcing a famous, high-quality tool company like Milwaukee or Nicholson. Yes, in the short-term, you post a nice positive balance and take your executive bonus for "saving" the company money, but in the longer term, you've destroyed the brand value.
    Big B, Kiwi2wheels and Gregor like this.

  16. #36
    borne2fly is offline Hot Rolled
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    I also think part of the problem is the move away from "fixable" things to "disposable" things. That invites a drop in quality that corresponds to the drop in price. And if quality can be dropped far enough, then any unskilled labor can make it ...... so you buy a dozen to get 3 or 4 that work, who cares? They're cheap. That's the present thinking.
    Well, until recently. Now that everyone is broke and trying to stretch a dollar, those cheap disposables don't look so cheap anymore. I'm hearing people ask for stuff that will last .... at almost any price. Maybe we're witnessing the turnaround?

  17. #37
    iwananew10K is offline Titanium
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    GaryE,
    wow! i`m stunned! you`ve actually been here... even people just down the river in Cincinnati don`t know where Moscow is!
    yep- the boat ramp is still here. still cobblestones too.

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by borne2fly View Post
    I also think part of the problem is the move away from "fixable" things to "disposable" things. That invites a drop in quality that corresponds to the drop in price. And if quality can be dropped far enough, then any unskilled labor can make it ......
    "There is nothing in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and he who considers price only is that man's lawful prey."

  19. #39
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    Many of the componants on the boards in your Fanuc drives are not feasibly repairable. It is just too fine'a werk for most.

    I am sure that those tiny componants cost less than vacume tubes.
    I know for a fact that they take up a lot less space.
    I am pretty sure that they last a lot longer than most vacume tubes.

    ...but tubes are replaceable...


    I think I'll take the tiny tiny chips and replace the whole board when it comes to that...


    -------------------
    I am Ox and I approve this h'yah post!

  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ox View Post
    Many of the componants on the boards in your Fanuc drives are not feasibly repairable. It is just too fine'a werk for most.

    I am sure that those tiny componants cost less than vacume tubes.
    ...
    -------------------
    I am Ox and I approve this h'yah post!
    C'mon Ox...Whats a little surface mount soldering? It doesn't get hard at all until you're doing 0603s by hand...In the field...

    ...But then again, I'm in my 20s, and I own a tube tester. Does that make me ?

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