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Old 06-06-2009, 12:13 PM   #1
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Horsepuckie

the-hardest-jobs-to-fill-in-america: Personal Finance News from Yahoo! Finance

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If you're looking for work in any of these fields, you're in luck.For the second year in a row, engineer is the hardest job to fill in America.
Why are engineers so hard to find?
Because employers can't find any who will work at McDonalds wages. But all is not lost; there is always the third world.

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Meanwhile, the profession's most experienced workers are retiring in droves.
After they have been laid off.

Apparently, Forbes also thinks that all engineers are the same. A Civil Engineer can do my job easily, as I can his. Right.

Maybe I can become a journalist. There does not seem to be any intellectual requirement.
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Old 06-06-2009, 12:29 PM   #2
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Saw part of an interview the other day when the job numbers came out, some guy was saying similar things as found in the article you linked.

I'm curious what your response is to this:
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Beginning engineers need only an undergraduate diploma--and with that they earn a starting salary of six figures.
We're going over to my SiL & BiL's house for a barbecue after a while. BiL is director of engineering for the subsea drilling and production unit of a Fortune 500 oil services company. I'll see if I can get his read on this and report back later. My HS sophomore son is still trying to decide what he wants to major in, and engineering has been the recurring choice until he recently started talking about medical school.
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Old 06-06-2009, 01:23 PM   #3
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Beginning engineers need only an undergraduate diploma--and with that they earn a starting salary of six figures.

Not in any engineering discipline that I know. Not for any employer I've ever worked for. This sounds like someone passed some stats around until they no longer knew where they came from or what they were measuring.

There have been a lot of layoffs of engineers around here and it's taking many months to find work - often at substantially reduced wages. The six figure salary is rare, even for experienced folks. Managers and group leads maybe they go up that high but individual contributor engineers, very unlikely.
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Old 06-06-2009, 01:40 PM   #4
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Because employers can't find any who will work at McDonalds wages. But all is not lost; there is always the third world.
I see some IT industry trade magazines from time to time, and it's amazing over the last few years how you articles side by side like:

* Hi-Tech Megacorp to shed 4,000 U.S. jobs, build call center in India

* GeekCo plans mass layoffs; Fortune 500 CIOs seeks increase in H1B visa program

There is NOT a shortage of skilled workers already here. There is a shortage of skilled engineers who will work for $25,000 a year or less, and who don't need a single day of retraining.
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Old 06-06-2009, 02:58 PM   #5
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Leonidas,

Six-figures for a new grad might have happened only one time, probably for petroleum engineers. Some years, they can't buy a job, though. The U of Michigan does new grad salary surveys. Without looking, I am guessing $50k average is more realistic in a good market. Maybe $80k tops. IMHO this is not a good market.

If your son can make it, I would recommend shooting for med school. Engineering (any branch) is fun, most of the time. It is also better than English Literature or History for getting a job upon graduation.

The smartest engineer I know of is our patron saint, John P. Greaney. He got a degree in Civil Engineering--quickly--and proceeded to achieve FIRE. Show him John's story. Here is one version: Career Advice for Budding Early Retirees.

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Old 06-06-2009, 03:04 PM   #6
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And teachers are on this list! Not in Pennsylvania. Everyone I know who has a kid who got a teaching degree had to leave the state to get his or her first job. Som of them came back when they have taught elsewhere for a few years. I work with ladies who had teaching degrees, subbed for years, and then took civil service exams to get hired by the state in other fields. The rumor is you have to know someone politically to get a public school teaching job in PA right out of college.
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Old 06-06-2009, 03:07 PM   #7
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Because employers can't find any who will work at McDonalds wages. But all is not lost; there is always the third world.
Careful...the third world is coming soon to a town near you. And me. And every other American.


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After they have been laid off.
As one who is facing both in less than a month, I can relate to that. I can also relate to how companies are laying off older workers just a few months (or, in my case, a few DAYS) short of full retirement eligibility. This is because, by forcing you out early, it reduces drastically their pension obligation to you. In my case, it reduces my monthly pension by around 40%.

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Apparently, Forbes also thinks that all engineers are the same. A Civil Engineer can do my job easily, as I can his. Right.
It isn't just Forbes...our feral (excuse me, federal) government seems to think so, too.


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Maybe I can become a journalist. There does not seem to be any intellectual requirement.
Maybe, but only if you can pass the entrance exam, which is:

First, they give you an IQ test. Then they have you take off you right shoe and put your right foot in that device used in shoe stores to measure your shoe size. If your IQ is higher than your shoe size, you're disqualified.
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Old 06-06-2009, 03:10 PM   #8
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The rumor is you have to know someone politically to get a public school teaching job in PA right out of college.
I'd imagine it depends on location and one's own field of study. I'd think math and science teachers wouldn't need to be as connected, though even that may be changing in this economy. You might not even need to give bonus pay to math and science teachers to attract them any more -- just a secure job and a pension might be enough in today's world.

My wife starts as an aide with the local school district here in August, and there may be an option down the road for her to work on a teacher's certificate if she decides to get "promoted" from aide to teacher and if the district thinks she'd make a good teacher. She already has the four-year degree, so it would just take approval by the district and working with them to fit in the necessary certification work.
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Old 06-06-2009, 03:52 PM   #9
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Want2Explore wrote,

As one who is facing both in less than a month, I can relate to that. I can also relate to how companies are laying off older workers just a few months (or, in my case, a few DAYS) short of full retirement eligibility. This is because, by forcing you out early, it reduces drastically their pension obligation to you. In my case, it reduces my monthly pension by around 40%.

W2Explore,

If you'd gone to work for the Ferals, you may be treated with relentless contempt once you are eligible to retire, in an effort to make you leave on your own. But you probably would not be forced to leave before you could retire and collect benefits. That stinks. I hope at least you saw it coming.

In my narrow world-view of employment, computer scientists seem to get a better deal than engineers. Again, that is only my limited perspective based on my workplace.
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Old 06-06-2009, 04:09 PM   #10
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If you'd gone to work for the Ferals, you may be treated with relentless contempt once you are eligible to retire, in an effort to make you leave on your own. But you probably would not be forced to leave before you could retire and collect benefits. That stinks. I hope at least you saw it coming.
I kind of did, actually, having seen it happen to others. Fortunately, getting the shaft instead of the gold mine (fool's gold, really) from Dewey, Shaftem and Howe won't affect my plans all that much.


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In my narrow world-view of employment, computer scientists seem to get a better deal than engineers. Again, that is only my limited perspective based on my workplace.
Count yourself lucky to not have been replaced by someone working in a virtual sweatshop in Krapistan or wherever. Yet. A lot of engineering is being outsourced, too.
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Old 06-06-2009, 04:13 PM   #11
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I kind of did, actually, having seen it happen to others. Fortunately, getting the shaft instead of the gold mine (fool's gold, really) from Dewey, Shaftem and Howe won't affect my plans all that much.
Shaftem? Did Cheatham retire without my knowledge?
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Old 06-06-2009, 04:30 PM   #12
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Shaftem? Did Cheatham retire without my knowledge?
He retired early.
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Old 06-06-2009, 05:14 PM   #13
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from the article...First, employers don't want to hire two or three engineers with a variety of specialties, they want one engineer who is trained in several areas.

Let us all transport ourselves to the home galaxy of the author of this article.
Engineers are typically are highly specialized in one area, with a lot of depth that comes from years of experience.
Chameleons (job transitions and experience in a wide variety of areas) like me are very rare. My breadth of tech areas was caused by circumstance and w*rking in govt, not a desire to know a little about a lot of areas.
In a REAL production or manufacturing or building environment, multidisciplinary backgrounds just don't happen.
Helllllllooooooooooo?
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Old 06-06-2009, 06:35 PM   #14
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In a REAL production or manufacturing or building environment, multidisciplinary backgrounds just don't happen.
Helllllllooooooooooo?
Exactly! We have laid off several civil engineers in the last 2 years - all specialized in designing residential subdivisions (that's all they did) - none of them have found a job yet.
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Old 06-06-2009, 08:51 PM   #15
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Chameleons (job transitions and experience in a wide variety of areas) like me are very rare.
Hey, I resemble that remark


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My breadth of tech areas was caused by circumstance and w*rking in govt, not a desire to know a little about a lot of areas.
I never w*rked directly for the gummint but I spent many years on gummint-related projects working for contractors, mostly on the manufacturing end. You pretty much had to become a jack-of-all-trades simply because SOMEBODY had to be able to see the forest for the trees and figure out how to make all the disparate parts and systems play together as intended. And also to explain how the Real World works to management and to the ivory-tower types, many (most) of whom were more dense than a neutron star


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In a REAL production or manufacturing or building environment, multidisciplinary backgrounds just don't happen.
Helllllllooooooooooo?
Oh, they happen, but rarely.
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Old 06-07-2009, 11:14 AM   #16
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In a REAL production or manufacturing or building environment, multidisciplinary backgrounds just don't happen.
Actually, Chemical Process Engineers are trained that way. There are also Mechanical Process Engineers who are pretty good, too.

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First, employers don't want to hire two or three engineers with a variety of specialties, they want one engineer who is trained in several areas.
This is hilarious. Management is never that smart and ignorance hires ignorance. Employers want interchangeable parts that cost as little as they can get away with.

I agree with freebird. The authors live in an alternate reality.
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Old 06-08-2009, 06:29 AM   #17
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This is hilarious. Management is never that smart ....
This must be universal. Posted on the roll call room bulletin board one day:

"We the unwilling, led by the unknowing, have done so much with so little that we are now qualified to do anything with nothing."

And the other classic:

"The floggings will continue until morale improves."
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Old 06-08-2009, 09:15 AM   #18
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"The floggings will continue until morale improves."
"Due to budget cuts, the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off."
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:23 AM   #19
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"Due to budget cuts, the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off."
You guys had a light there? And a budget?
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:39 AM   #20
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I believe the nursing shortage. Hospitals in my area are still hiring and giving raises this year along with increasing retirement benefits. Guess that helps make up for the years of low pay.
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