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Volatility of the Automotive Industry

01/21/2016 6:54 AM

I have been interested in automotive electronics, and just started working for Cummins in Jan, 2015. But recently, in Nov 2015, I was laid off.

Working in the entry level position, doing tests and hardware I learned a lot but I feel really concerned about how volatile this industry is. Moving from job is job is not an issue for me per se, but I can't imagine in which city I would start to finance my house (after marriage), or just settle down.

If I get employed again, and then fired in say another year, I may have to move from that city, and it would just go on. This has got me concerned, what would more experienced people of the industry suggest me to do?

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#1

Re: Volatility of the Automotive Industry

01/21/2016 8:24 AM

This is not your father's world.

Employment uncertainty is not an exclusive domain of the auto industry. It is a reality everywhere in the world these days.

If you crave stability go to work in the healthcare industry or the postal service or the military. People will always get sick but people do not always buy new cars.

10 professions with the best job security - MarketWatch

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#14
In reply to #1

Re: Volatility of the Automotive Industry

01/21/2016 4:12 PM

"This is not your father's world"

It's not your world, nor your father's world either. I hope we can talk without involving people we've never known. Thank you.

Coming to the topic of my post now. I know there isn't 100% job security anywhere, anything could happen tomorrow.

But is the automotive industry more volatile than other sectors I could be employed in as an electrical engineer? If the automotive industry has this happen significantly more often than other sectors I could be employed in as an electrical engineer, it's probably good to overlook my first interest in it and go with other options like energy.

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#16
In reply to #14

Re: Volatility of the Automotive Industry

01/21/2016 4:25 PM

< see ya>

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#17
In reply to #14

Re: Volatility of the Automotive Industry

01/21/2016 5:11 PM

For starters, Lyn was using a figure of speech essentially says that times have changed. Long gone are the days when your dad gets you a job at 'The Mill' and you work there until you retire.

Also, not sure if you were being sarcastic in your reply to him, but the written word is does not translate tone and timber very well, and yours didn't come across too well.

To answer your last few questions... do not let the potential or perceived volatility of a field influence your desire. If automotive is your first interest - go for it.

I left automotive after coming back from a combat deployment because I lost my fire and needed a change. So, I went to a steel mill and was and Envr. Mngr... something to do while I soul searched. Realized I was missing intensity - probably related to my last combat deployment - but I needed to be 'on the edge' a little. Oil was going nuts and capital was being spent like mad. Perfect, hence why I made the move. Now it's pretty slow, but the intensity is still there but in more of a survival kind of way.

What I'm saying is... even if you don't have to change jobs because of volatility in the field, you will still likely change them due to internal motivations. So, don't compromise and settle for Option Two before you even get out of the gate.

Damnit son... do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life.

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#21
In reply to #17

Re: Volatility of the Automotive Industry

01/22/2016 2:59 PM

Also, not sure if you were being sarcastic in your reply to him, but the written word is does not translate tone and timber very well, and yours didn't come across too well.

The whole point of the was it being a joke, even if I felt that first line of Lyn's post was not required. I got nothing against Lyn. You all are well experienced and worthy of taking advice from, which is why I am here asking. But I hope we can be respectful.

Unfortunately, I sense a lot of negativity - callous remarks like someone who advised me to not get a house or settle down. It was only through great restraint I didn't reply rudely to that user.

Coming to this topic sir, I would love working for the energy sector as well. There is an advantage for me to continue in automotive given that I have some experience. But this happened in 2009 (following the recession), and now, and it's all over the news how GM filed for bankruptcy. Someone else did say rightly that people won't always buy automobiles, but we will always use energy.

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#24
In reply to #21

Re: Volatility of the Automotive Industry

01/22/2016 3:58 PM

Sorry, it was not my intent to be rude, I only had a moment to respond at that time.

The way you phrased your dilemma, to me the sensible thing to do would be to not buy a house.

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#25
In reply to #24

Re: Volatility of the Automotive Industry

01/22/2016 4:30 PM

That's okay. Nothing taken personally. I'm going through a relatively difficult time in my life. My bad. We are all good :-)

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#26
In reply to #25

Re: Volatility of the Automotive Industry

01/22/2016 5:23 PM

A little thick skin definitely helps around here along with a healthy sense of humor. It's how we all survive the workplace and we try to have some fun here too.

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#29
In reply to #14

Re: Volatility of the Automotive Industry

01/25/2016 9:07 AM

Volatile describes automotive extremely well. As with all companies, it all comes down to the bottom line on the books. It has been my experience, over the last 21 years in automotive, that things have changed dramatically. There is little or no supplier appreciation or loyalty as there once used to be from any of the manufacturers.

Everything these days is what is the cost. Yes, direct production materials tier 1 suppliers can get long(er) term contracts for parts, but, at the end of the contract it all comes down to what they charge for their parts. Another supplier can bid less and then, you have no customer.

I initially thought, "run as far away as you can", but, that would be up to you. There are survivors after all, and, if you have the ambition you can make a career in automotive, just have to make sure that you do your best at all times, get lucky enough(or work hard and smart enough) to get noticed, and stick with it.

I have survived(painfully at times) so there is always a shot.

Good luck in what ever you choose to do.

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#2

Re: Volatility of the Automotive Industry

01/21/2016 8:52 AM

Don't buy a house.

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#3

Re: Volatility of the Automotive Industry

01/21/2016 9:37 AM

Despite of anything, please consider to be grateful. Though laid off, pretty sure there is plenty of jobs in your country in hourly basis.

Unlike here, we have really cheap rates, jobs are sparse yet, I do not worry that much. People here actually wanted to go there and they considered your least, so fortunate.

Cheer up!

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#7
In reply to #3

Re: Volatility of the Automotive Industry

01/21/2016 2:14 PM

What's "your country", what's "here". Cummins is headquartered in Columbus, Indiana in US which is where I live and work.

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#13
In reply to #7

Re: Volatility of the Automotive Industry

01/21/2016 3:57 PM

Columbus, IN - nice part of the country - good economy - use to live there. Check out Faurecia, but I'd stay away from the place next door.

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#19
In reply to #7

Re: Volatility of the Automotive Industry

01/22/2016 4:53 AM

Somewhere in Asia Jay.

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#4

Re: Volatility of the Automotive Industry

01/21/2016 10:13 AM

Prior to switching to the Energy Sector in 2012, I worked in Automotive (Tier 1 / Tier 2 Suppliers) on the manufacturing side since 2000, and on the OEM side designing/supplying capital equipment to Tier 1 and 2 manufactures for the entirety of my career up to that point. So, based on my experience...

My advice, at the early stages of your career, don't buy a house; especially in this current economy and political climate. We are divided as a world and a nation, there is too much volatility in those two things alone to warrant/require flexibility and agility.

Add to that the volatility in all of manufacturing (not just automotive) as more and more companies look to reduce cost to produce by relocating operations to other countries. 'Made in USA' is not as big as it use to be during the Cold War and prior... we are a global economy, period. Not to mention our need to have executive-level benefits at the entry-level position, is making American goods too expensive on the global stage... but that's another topic.

Back on to yours, accept the fact that in the early part of your career, you will move around a lot... which is actually a good thing...

A quick anecdote... While working for one company, we bought another, smaller company, a supplier to us that was critical but was being mismanaged for years - so we just bought them to stabilize that part of the supply stream. In a meeting with that company's management group, we were injecting a new standard of performance and expectation. One of their managers, in contention, said 'I've only ever worked for this company, and I've been here 35 years... you don't know what you're talking about.' One from our group responded... 'That tells me for your entire career, you've never know what right, better, or different looks like.'

Every move you make, every breath you take will result in an expanded perspective, exposure to different methodologies and philosophies, new and different tools and techniques. All of which will add to your capability and value. So moving, irrespective of your field, is actually a good thing early in your career - you will develop a broader perspective and knowledge base.

As for the automotive industry itself... it is subject to its ups and downs, but it is a pretty stable industry. It's been around for a long time and people will be buying cars for a long time yet to come. Heck, the government will even come to your aid when things get really tough. But there in-lies the crux... Government didn't bail out the Tier 1, 2 and 3 suppliers... just the Automotive manufacturers themselves. So, maybe right now, you're working for companies that supply to the Automotive industry - they feel the fluctuations more and until you get a few years under your belt, you will be subject to layoffs, regardless of who you work for.

But in the mid part of your career, you can leverage your experience and move into a mid-level position at a larger supplier (Denso, Bosch, Magna, Delphi, Benteler, Visteon, Lear, Dana, even your Cummings.)

But, here's the key question... what do you want to do in the Automotive industry? Because working for Cummings is going to provide experience in Diesel Engines, right? But Visteon is just as big, if not larger than Cummings, but address a different supply chain in automotive.

My closing suggestion, is to ID what you want to do in automotive then research Automotive OEM Part Supplier and make a list of those companies that work in your area of interest, throughout the entire supply chain - down to the raw materials manufacturers. Because, if you're really interested in designing automotive interiors for example, you shouldn't be at Cummings anyway... you might be best suited starting out in textiles.

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Volatility of the Automotive Industry

01/21/2016 10:29 AM

Oh.. also look at Market Downturns and find organizations that weathered the storm well during precarious period in the industry. For example, 2009 was a pretty bad year for Automotive so who were the top performers outside of the manufacturers themselves during that period?

http://www.autonews.com/assets/PDF/CA70140611.PDF

Though 'past performance is not an indication of future returns' this is a list of the top 100 Global OEMs to automotive based on 2009 Sales figures and might be a good place to start when putting together a list of potential employers.

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#6
In reply to #4

Re: Volatility of the Automotive Industry

01/21/2016 10:52 AM

GA and well stated.

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#9
In reply to #4

Re: Volatility of the Automotive Industry

01/21/2016 2:32 PM

Thank you for that answer.

"But, here's the key question... what do you want to do in the Automotive industry?"

I want to work in software design (at Cummins they use Simulink). So far, I've only done testing and some hardware work. You worked in the automotive industry from 2000 to 2012, did you ever face a situation like me during this time?

The energy sector is something I would like to work in, given that I have no experience working in the energy sector and would like to start there, what certifications, or exams could I take to go start my career there?

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#11
In reply to #9

Re: Volatility of the Automotive Industry

01/21/2016 3:40 PM

Getting started in the Energy Sector... well, for starters that is a broad field... so you may want to narrow your field down, like Automotive is from Transportation. Keeping in mind I'm still a layman at 4'ish years in...

Energy Sector could be broken down as follows:

  1. Fuel (Oil and Gas) <- The area I'm in
    1. Extraction
    2. Refining
    3. Distribution
  2. Electric Generation
    1. Turbines
      1. Steam (nuclear, geothermal)
      2. Gas
      3. Hydro
      4. Wind
    2. Engines (generators)
    3. Electrochemical (batteries)
    4. Electromagnetic (alternators)
    5. Piezoelectric
  3. Electric Distribution
    1. The Grid, baby!

If a more specific are in the Energy Sector appeals to you, let us know as I'm sure you'll find someone here with personal experience in the field. As for certifications, I can't answer that. It depends on what area of the sector you find yourself in and what you're doing.

For me, I'm more support these days - which allows me to transition from one field to another easily, I can be in Oil and Gas today, Hydro tomorrow, back to Automotive next week, commercial construction next month, mechanical design next year, environmental management after that, operational management, engineering management, maintenance management, facilities management, construction management, ad nausium. In summary - my profession now is called Project Management which allows me to pretty much work anywhere. And, because I hopped around a lot in the early part of my career and was lucky enough to go though a really good training program when I first started as a draftsman (I spent months in the shop), my tool box is broad and diverse... which is perfect for Project Management... I know enough to know what I don't know and need to ask, if that makes sense.

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#8

Re: Volatility of the Automotive Industry

01/21/2016 2:26 PM

Along Lyn's line of thinking, here's another jobs report that would make my blood run cold if I weren't bumping up on retirement before too many more years: http://mashable.com/2016/01/19/robot-jobs/?utm_cid=mash-prod-nav-sub-st#CwDAtx56_5qW.

A former manager once told me that the only job security is having the hot skills at the right time and in the right place. Millennials will probably have to reinvent themselves 3,4, times, or more, over the course of their working lives. What does this mean for you? Perhaps, if you want to put down roots, you'll need to live someplace with lots of different kinds of industries and be willing to retrain or upgrade your skills regularly.

Maybe you could buy a vacation house and just keep renting your weekday home?

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#23
In reply to #8

Re: Volatility of the Automotive Industry

01/22/2016 3:18 PM

No I would much prefer to settle down in a place/city, so if I have kids (which I hope to at least by the next 5 years), they could go to one school. It looks like this pattern of lay offs doesn't happen all too often but is more common in Cummins and Caterpillar.

I agree with you on having to reinvent myself, I am a millennial, and there is a lot for me to learn in the coming years. The better I get, the more valuable I am and less are the chances that higher management would want take me from the job.

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#10

Re: Volatility of the Automotive Industry

01/21/2016 2:32 PM

Defense contracting has its ups and downs, but good people stay. If you like stability it would be hard to beat any of the Tier 1 suppliers like Boeing, Raytheon, Lock-Mart, Northrop-Grumman, General Dynamics, BAE, and so on. Your best chances are if you can get and keep a security clearance.

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#12
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Re: Volatility of the Automotive Industry

01/21/2016 3:47 PM

An area I always wanted to get into actually. But, I'm non-degreed and could never break that barrier in that sector and even get a foot in the door. Have a DOD-S presently, and had a TS, but it was situational and I don't need currently so it's gone.

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#15
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Re: Volatility of the Automotive Industry

01/21/2016 4:21 PM

If you've had TS at one time, it definitely makes it quicker to get it back than going in 'fresh'. I agree that non-degreed makes it much tougher. That's an HR problem and it's universal. We have some engineering technicians at my work who are every bit as smart and much more useful than recent engineering grads but the dolts in HR will NOT make a technician an engineer grade without that stupid piece of paper. They could be Einstein, it wouldn't matter to them.

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#18
In reply to #15

Re: Volatility of the Automotive Industry

01/22/2016 2:48 AM

But the fun doesn't stop there. The aggregate effect of the underlying worldview and mindset is a debilitating one for just about everything that matters. I propose re-education camps for everyone. (except me, of course)

" Who or what are these forces? The mystery remains as dense as ever. " .... some prevaricating untouchable grandee

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#27
In reply to #15

Re: Volatility of the Automotive Industry

01/22/2016 5:53 PM

Yeah, it's probably mostly for liability... Imagine the firestorm if tomorrow's headlines read...

"New Military weapon explodes during testing, killing 10, key components designed by non-engineers."

"Obama spends Billions on military defenses systems designed by self-taught wanna-be's"

But, if Oil keeps going the way it's going... I might be in a position to try that door again ;-)

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#20

Re: Volatility of the Automotive Industry

01/22/2016 2:17 PM

Some jobs are just that way. I worked the oilfields for 11 years and in my first 4 years moved 4 times. They left me in one spot too long, which really wasn't normal, and when they tried to move me again, I went, but the family stayed put. I found out they planed to start moving me every 6 months again, so I quit the best paying job I've ever had.

But, I knew going into it moving was required. That is how some companies operate. They don't want you to get roots in a spot. In most cases you are paid well and expected to handle this inconvenience. Good companies pay most of the moving expenses. Well....they really don't cover all, but they come close.

You have to decide if you can handle moving or not. One of my co-workers demanded to be moved every 6 months, and when they chose to leave him in Michigan for too long, he went to a competitor. Some like it - many don't.

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#22

Re: Volatility of the Automotive Industry

01/22/2016 3:02 PM

Thank you all for your answers!

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#28
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Re: Volatility of the Automotive Industry

01/23/2016 8:48 PM

Jay,

I hear you saying you have an EE background. But, I could have misread things.

A few suggestions:

  • Subscribe to the ABB bimonthly magazine. Yes, it is a house paper, but it does talk extensively about electrical generation and distribution, and its free. I think its name is ABB Review.
  • Volunteer for a non-profit such as Habitat. You will meet many very wonderful people at all stages of life experience. You may meet people there who can give you practical advice, and certainly doing hands-on work will be a valuable education.
  • In the energy sector, a rapidly growing field is energy storage. That field is what will even out the rapid fluctuations between energy supply and energy demand, particularly in the electrical area. The field will involve many areas of knowledge and experience such as chemistry, fire protection, safety, control systems, software design, communications, land use, regulations, etc.
  • On the software side of things, I hope you are acutely conscious about the real concerns with hacking and taking control away from vehicle operators. This is a published problem and will get worse unless people in the design end get their heads out of the sand and make the hardware/software resistant to attack and damage. The same concerns involve many other fields we have innocently entered, such as home security, the "smart home", all our use of wireless devices, etc.

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#30

Latest Indian Jobs

01/28/2016 6:03 AM

Awesome jobs..

http://indguru.com/2015/bhel-jobs-careers-bhel-com/3070/

http://indguru.com/2015/ibps-so-recruitment-2016-specialist-officer-november-2015/2871/

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