ESB faces engineer shortage (fact or fiction)

I have a friend who works for the ESB and he has been telling me this story for years. For the past 10 years, most of the young electricians will get trained in the ESB and then head to the private sector doing electrical work on new houses.

There is a big difference between an electrician and an electrical engineer. At the moment very few people are studying electronic/electrical engineering and I should know as I’m studying it!

I heard there is going to be 1 (yes, one) EE graduate from UCD this year.

At least there’s still plenty of computing jobs for him/her…like the vast majority of the rest of us EE’s!

As I’ve said before I and many of my class (UCC EE '05) aren’t employed in Engineering because the pay and conditions are crap. If they want to get people maybe they should pay more. Best decision I ever made quitting the industry.

Good salaries are earned. I saw a lot of this in college. Disbelief among people graduating that they’re not getting 40-50k per annum straight off.

I know a lad who graduated from your course either your year or the year after and turned down a 35k start in Cork. I thought it was a pretty decent offer to be honest.

It was grand in boom times to offer promising graduates big salaries, but now it’s time for reality. You don’t deserve a giant salary straight out of college because in reality you’ve proved very little.

Your salary will go up very quickly with about 40% average effort if you’re any good.

Good. Lucky we don’t need engineers any more.

Now that the Greens :imp: have found all of the answers, we don’t want a bunch of engineers hanging around analysing things.

Of course theres a shortage of engineers. Theres also a shortage of people willing to clean toilets, do farm labour etc etc.

Engineering is generally difficult and relatively unrewarding work. And if thats not bad enough, you have to put up with seeing the non engineers taking for themselves, all the money your work generates. Typically, the head of marketing or finance, will be earning much more than the engineers.

That is the anglo-american capitalist business model in action. And thats why manufacturing is declining in those economies.

On the other hand, in Germany, the engineer is the key figure in business. Engineers are respected. And senior managers are not allowed to bleed the company dry with massive remuneration packages. And thats why Germany was the number 1 exporter in the world in 2007.

In Ireland we simply import our engineers.

They come here in their droves (lured by stories of Ireland where the streets are paved with gold), stay about 5 years (long enough to get an EU passport from the Passport Office), save some money (a little) and then jump on the next gravy train.

Once the current generation of hi-tech manufacturing comes to the end of its service life it’ll be replaced, not in Ireland, but in China. Many plants are obsolete after 5 years with the pace of change in the global economy.

Correct and this trend does not bode well for HP employees in Leixlip, HP will have to respond to the competition.

Don’t forget France. The title “Engineer” is a status symbol and hard earned there. Here the job title “xxxx whatever engineer” is given out willy-nilly to anyone in lieu of a decent salary.
I’m not an Engineer BTW or a software engineer for that matter but I do respect the sum of 4 or 5 years training and thereafter life-long learning that a proper Engineer embodies.

The national road authority were recruiting engineers directly from South Africa in 2002. The health board recruited a lot of nurses from the Philipines between 1998-2000. As CelloPoint hints, the ESB may just recruit from abroad.

Aren’t they running quite a buget surplus recently? Maybe they could expand their training programs and promote the job a bit more?

(As an aside, Steve McConnell makes a good arguement that the title software engineer is a misnomer. We’re not licenced by a legal entity, aren’t liable for our work for years and don’t have half the professional discipline of actual engineers)

Being an (Communications) Engineer myself I can only confirm the above, the technician gets usually paid less than the marketing guy, project manager or similar. But that’s ok as it is the engineer who is usually working late and on weekends (because you can’t shutdown a system when anyone else needs it, stupid!), and surely you can’t pay as much for a job where you have to work at nights or weekends, I mean just look at the salary for the average pint-filler in a pub !? :imp:

Anyway, Germany is definitely best (as per my experience) in terms of pay for Engineers, but Ireland isn’t that bad either. But the key point especially in Germany is experience: fresh from university will pay you fair: You don’t know nothin’ so you can’t expect big money. But if you proove yourself being worth it the paycheck usually goes up quick.

Another point here: I was teaching at a University in Austria for some time in software engineering disciplines, and what we have seen in the last say 7,8 years that the nubmer of students went down and down.

Reason: Just wasn’t cool enough, and as said before it is not always the nicest job. Also, you have to stick into it - shitloads of maths and science, and you need to know your stuff not just have it learned by heart.

The courses are also generally complete sausage fests…

In Ireland you can make an awful mess if you are an engineer and nothing can happen to you. Well, you may get sacked.
In the UK you must have insurance for minimum 1 million, in case you mess up.
In my experience Engineering is a very poor paying profession for the average person. If, however, you break your arse and become a serious specialist then the money is very big. I see the biggest problem for engineers as lack of knowledge where their skills will get a high salary. If you work in Telecoms for example you can get big money if you become the guy who knows everything. And I mean everything. You must be a one stop shop for anybody who wants info on the product. You must also know the business side. You must know who is buying the product and have a good idea of what their requirements are. It’s dam tough getting to this point. And most people do engineering expecting their quals to be enough to command a bloody big salary. Nothing could be further from the truth. Average engineers are 10 to the penny, however, on the flip side, the engineer mentioned above are 1 in 1000. And since they are so rare they get a bundle. Since most newly qualified engineers get pissed off when they realise that the rewards are not immediate available they don’t put the effort in and they fade away moving from job to job chasing a 2% salary increase. Also the engineers who do make a fortune don’t advertise the fact for obvious reasons so it is tough for a new engineer cause all they see is badly paid engineers.
In short, you can make big money (100,000 in Ireland) in engineering. You just have to know what to do.
Of course if you want to make real money you got to get your arse onto the board of directors. These guys often don’t make massive salaries instead (depending on the tax situation in the country you work in) they get shares, options, bonuses etc. BTW skip middle management these guys get pretty good salaries but lots of back breaking pressure and long hours.
Now if you want to avoid working for someone else then …

I used to think that was big money - when I was earning it or close to it for a few years as a self-employed tech sales/rep type of operator. After the dotbomb years I came to realise a LOT of people were earning more and doing far less - lawyers, finance directors and probably the greatest shams of them all - HR. I know one HR person who has damn-all qualifications from a real university or institution - just the you-scratch-my-back type they have in the IIPD or similar outfits - attend a few breakfast or dinner meeting a year and yer in me boy. This person having been (voluntarily) out of the game for 5 years or more went back recently and did not even consider going to interview for any company offering under 100k. In many companies I’m told the Finance Director and the head of HR somehow end up with far better employment contracts than anybody else. Or am I just bitter and twisted 'cos I didn’t think of it? Wouldn’t have been able to hack it anyway as I get bored with pure figures (apart from Helen Hunt’s of course) and I’m an Engineer not a bloody people person…

BTW - I’m told the headmaster/headmistress in a National School can get over €80,000 when you add in all the extra bits for posts of responsibility and so on- dunno how true that is but it does lend credence to the feeling that engineers and other techies have been left in the dust for quite a few years. db

Point is you can earn this if you use your Engineering degree and work in a different field so why on earth do Engineering. Makes so sense.

Nobody said you deserve a big salary, I don’t. I understand the cost pressures my last company was under. My point is that when engineering jobs are paying less than what engineering grads can get elsewhere why be surprised when people don’t do it.