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Trying Times for Automation Professionals?

Posted July 27, 2011 6:00 AM

Some believe industry treats automation professionals as a commodity. Their skills are bought when and if needed. Higher value is placed on workers on hourly pay rates and their direct supervisors — the people who actually run plants. Increasingly, automation professionals are contracted for specific projects or on a part-time basis. Will this change if prosperity returns, or is this the way of the future? Where will expertise and innovation come from?

The preceding article is a "sneak peek" from Industrial Automation, a newsletter from GlobalSpec. To stay up-to-date and informed on industry trends, products, and technologies, subscribe to Industrial Automation today.

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#1

Re: Trying Times for Automation Professionals?

07/27/2011 9:13 AM

Just automation professionals?

I was under the impression that all workers were now considered a commodity, to be utilized and thrown away as needed.

The latest trick in the US, is to hire all new workers on a part time basis and keeping the hours low enough to keep it part time..............................part time workers do not qualify for benefits.

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#2
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Re: Trying Times for Automation Professionals?

07/28/2011 9:00 AM

This approach would save the most money of it was done to all CEOs!

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#3
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Re: Trying Times for Automation Professionals?

07/28/2011 9:21 AM

I hear you!!

Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your point of view, it saves a lot more money to screw a lot of people out of some money, than a relative few. The CEOs get the big bucks to make these painful decisions...............................I'm sure they sleep just fine at night.

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#6
In reply to #2

Re: Trying Times for Automation Professionals?

08/24/2011 8:08 AM

Let's not forget the board members. I'd love to have a job where I was paid $100K/yr. or more to show up for a meeting once a quarter! Since they can afford to purchase their own insurance, they just don't understand why everyone else doesn't ;).

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#4

Re: Trying Times for Automation Professionals?

07/29/2011 10:00 AM

This is new how?

It is why unions were invented.

"You see Virginia, unions are not JUST an invention of the devil, they are a response to greedy business owners who, without unions, would simply take all the profit from their innovation and risk."

(yes, my tongue is firmly in my cheek...)

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08/14/2011 11:28 AM

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#7

Re: Trying Times for Automation Professionals?

10/14/2011 8:45 AM

First of all I agree with all replies to date for the most part. But would like to mention the original topic posted by unknown person at GlobalSpec is a loaded post. It states "...contracted for specific projects or on a part-time basis..." followed by "Where will expertise and innovation come from?". One might incorrectly conclude those contracted professionals are only working part time so don't gain the experience to be experts and to innovate in their area of expertise. This is not the case for the most part. The experts typically work full time, just not at the same facility or company, and by working at different companies, with different people and in different industries, it actually increases the automation expert's expertise and ability to innovate. The shift to contracting automation expertise as needed just shifts the expertise and educational needs of the resident Maintenance Technicians and Industrial Engineers that work for the company full time. So they can be the system wide, plant wide experts and innovators.

Now like I mentioned in the beginning of my post, I agree with the previous posters. Yes Kramarat, it is a shame that most companies treat "all workers" as commodity. (although hiring workers part time to avoid Bennie's is an old trick, not new one.) MechanicalMark, management unlike experts needed for a particular project, need to be full time, focused on that single company or area they are managing. But CEOs and Board members while being "Experts" in their field should be paid more, it is way out of hand. YuseF1, you sum up the other comments nicely with "This is new how?" and you are correct, Unions were created because workers would be taken advantage of by the lucky few on top.

So in summary, I think the more companies, systems, industries and automation expert works in, the more expertise and innovation result. The more expertise, education and skills required, the more one should get paid. To manage a line, department, company most likely requires less continuing education and technical knowledge than an automation expert requires, so it should not be a problems the manager gets paid less. On the same hand, a Maintenance Technician who has to be electrician, mechanic, plumber, machinist and reliability expert should get paid more than someone who is just an electrician, just a mechanic, just a manager, etc.

Closing argument: It is not uncommon for the home owner to make less than the air conditioner expert they hire to work on their home air. To manage a group of experts doesn't require the manager to be more an expert than those he/she manages, so why should it require they make more money? (rhetorical question)

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