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cashinmattress

How Is It Possible For The Uk To Continue Functioning?

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I've been following and engaged in a lot of the conversations on here for years, and know the audience, tone. So much of the craic is in the now, and not so much looking to the future of things.

I live and work in the NE of Scotland and am witnessing a wholesale rout of the oil and gas industry. My work is secure, as is my partners, but so many are out of work or have had drastic cuts to their incomes. Same goes for the steel workers of recent times, or any of the other traditionally large employment sectors. Now doctors, health care workers, almost everybody is at risk.

What I'm getting at is I've been scanning over employment / recruitment websites. You know, curious about how other folk and our kids are holding up and I'm seeing things that are very unsettling. The options for young and old alike are getting dire.

Seems like many of the jobs for skilled and experienced, management level engineers (like me) are going around the country in the region of £35-50k. Yes, that's OK or very good depending on where you are geographically, but looking down to the other end of career progression, most young or inexperienced folk are lucky to get £25k if they can even get a proper job. And they are coming in with big university debts, addiction to wallet emptying technology/gadgets, and seemingly almost non-existent life skills; can't cook, can't budget, can't write or even stay focussed (yes, that last bit makes me sound old). Friends and family of mine have kids now entering the workforce looking to traditional vocational roles like teaching, nursing, etc... that have both terrible starting wages and terms, and non-existent job security.

So many jobs in the 'sexier' cities where young folk would like to live like London, Manchester, and Edinburgh are offering these wages, but have housing that is untenable for all those who aren't either lottery winners or who have parents leaving them a considerable inheritance in 12 months or less.

Now we have the Tory government courting China to build our next generation nuclear facilities? From my experience in the engineering sector, particularly with energy, steel MUST be from North America or Western European producers and is forbidden from China, India, and elsewhere.

Add to it there is perpetual war in the Middle East, a massive wave of immigrants, erosion of liberty and rights, global warming, Simon Cowell. Economies around the globe are in similar states, so up and leaving with your life on your back is a now is mostly a camp-fire tale.

Where do we go from here?

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Seems like many of the jobs for skilled and experienced, management level engineers (like me) are going around the country in the region of £35-50k. Yes, that's OK or very good depending on where you are geographically, but looking down to the other end of career progression, most young or inexperienced folk are lucky to get £25k if they can even get a proper job. And they are coming in with big university debts, addiction to wallet emptying technology/gadgets, and seemingly almost non-existent life skills; can't cook, can't budget, can't write or even stay focussed (yes, that last bit makes me sound old). Friends and family of mine have kids now entering the workforce looking to traditional vocational roles like teaching, nursing, etc... that have both terrible starting wages and terms, and non-existent job security.

Yep, that makes you sound old (and grumpy dare I say it, no offence! :P ).

I work as a bus controller (AKA a Blakey). New bus driving recruits to our company are on a lower hourly wage in nominal terms (let alone inflation adjusted!) than I made when I started as a driver in 2006; but I'm regularly surprised and pleased that most of the young ones are prepared to make as much effort as I was as a new driver. It tends to be the old gits coming to bus driving as a second career who insist on having a 5 minute 'toilet break' at the end of every trip, and making an effort to find that the shonky old bus we've given them to drive has a safety critical fault so that they have an excuse to turf their passengers off and read the paper for half an hour while we arrange for them to get another one. The young 'uns for the most part just get on with it.

So while I agree that the economic priorities of this country have become incredibly warped (as would 90% of posters on this forum I'm guessing, otherwise why would they be here?), I don't share your pessimism about the future. All we need is a decent house price crash and continued deflation in the cost of life's essentials, and we'll be rosy.

Edit to say that: The Baby Boomer generation love the idea that they got what they have because they were prepared to work hard for it, and the kids of today are feckless. Albeit that my baby boomer mum is a workaholic and I'm naturally quite a lazy *******, in general that's just not true in my experience.

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I've been following and engaged in a lot of the conversations on here for years, and know the audience, tone. So much of the craic is in the now, and not so much looking to the future of things.

I live and work in the NE of Scotland and am witnessing a wholesale rout of the oil and gas industry. My work is secure, as is my partners, but so many are out of work or have had drastic cuts to their incomes. Same goes for the steel workers of recent times, or any of the other traditionally large employment sectors. Now doctors, health care workers, almost everybody is at risk.

What I'm getting at is I've been scanning over employment / recruitment websites. You know, curious about how other folk and our kids are holding up and I'm seeing things that are very unsettling. The options for young and old alike are getting dire.

Seems like many of the jobs for skilled and experienced, management level engineers (like me) are going around the country in the region of £35-50k. Yes, that's OK or very good depending on where you are geographically, but looking down to the other end of career progression, most young or inexperienced folk are lucky to get £25k if they can even get a proper job. And they are coming in with big university debts, addiction to wallet emptying technology/gadgets, and seemingly almost non-existent life skills; can't cook, can't budget, can't write or even stay focussed (yes, that last bit makes me sound old). Friends and family of mine have kids now entering the workforce looking to traditional vocational roles like teaching, nursing, etc... that have both terrible starting wages and terms, and non-existent job security.

So many jobs in the 'sexier' cities where young folk would like to live like London, Manchester, and Edinburgh are offering these wages, but have housing that is untenable for all those who aren't either lottery winners or who have parents leaving them a considerable inheritance in 12 months or less.

Now we have the Tory government courting China to build our next generation nuclear facilities? From my experience in the engineering sector, particularly with energy, steel MUST be from North America or Western European producers and is forbidden from China, India, and elsewhere.

Add to it there is perpetual war in the Middle East, a massive wave of immigrants, erosion of liberty and rights, global warming, Simon Cowell. Economies around the globe are in similar states, so up and leaving with your life on your back is a now is mostly a camp-fire tale.

Where do we go from here?

In South Wales the engineering jobs are often amongst the lowest paid - be it an IT engineer or a boy doing, well, most other engineering.

This is because the public sector is the biggest employer in Wales and they simply do not rate engineering as a valuable job. Your twitter and facebook social media jobs often pay far more. Some of the Welsh NHS IT jobs pay as little as 12K a year but expect you to have a long, long list of technical skills.

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I'm afraid I have left the Oil and Gas Industry now. I was in Aberdeen for a few years, and it was a nice place, apart from the weather. :unsure:

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I sympathise OP. I think in the case of the oil industry however that this is cyclical - been plenty of booms and busts in Aberdeen before. I have a few friends from the south east who moved up to Aberdeen and were following the money - some serious pay up there. The world is over-leveraged and deflation inevitable (QE not working) and demand for oil/gas will be in the doldrums for a while. The Saudis are cutting off their noses to spite their faces and won't be able to maintain it for more than another year or two. As I say, I think the energy industry thing is just temporary albeit painful. However, having been in manufacturing for a long time (including running a factory in Wales) the general structural decline in that sector saddens me greatly and I feel we'll never have a government that understands it and the need to have productive jobs and acceptable living costs . I'm no longer in manufacturing, even though it's my passion and I love the sight of an injection moulding or pick & place machine - services in the south east for me, was battering my head against a brick wall for too long.

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I graduated as a chemist but soon left the field (a year) after realising what a pittance the sector pays. The final straw was looking at job adverts asking for phDs in a specialist field of chemistry with X years experience and knowledge of X, Y, Z (as long as your arm)...£25k. The effort and knowledge required didn't match the reward for me, I didn't want to feel bitter and angry 10-20 years down the line. Then took a turn and worked for a manufacturing/engineering company and found myself by chance (nobody else stupid enough to take on the job for the pay) managing a £1.5M/month operation with 50 staff...for £26k. Did that for 2.5 years. So then I moved down South and now earn just over £40k (I'm 25) in a Quality/H&S role for a Group of companies, in theory I am doing well by most people's standards. In reality, I live in a hovel (for the price of a house up north), pay a small fortune out in travel and work related expenses, pay back a fair chunk of Student Loans each month etc. Yes, I put away a reasonable amount away each month but it is pi**ing in the wind relative to living costs down here. I am quite lost to be honest, not a clue what to do, just question what I am stressing myself out for (not like I have any prospects). I am considering just going back home and taking a £20-25k job (if I can get one again) and be done with it, I seem to have kicked on professionally but my standard of living seems to be inversely proportional to that.

The more I speak to people (of my own age), I am realising just how temporary most jobs are (my C.V. no exception), either the employer calls it time or the employee leaves to pastures new (no loyalty either way). The annoying thing is I would have hopped on a plane to Canada or Aus maybe a few years ago but now the gravy train seems to be grinding to a halt there too (not to mention their real estate markets being even more bonkers).

I have a read through job adverts myself every now and again and I am always shocked by how much some employer's ask for relative to what they pay. We are low wage Britain now. Not sure I have contributed anything here but made me feel better!

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I sympathise OP. I think in the case of the oil industry however that this is cyclical - been plenty of booms and busts in Aberdeen before. I have a few friends from the south east who moved up to Aberdeen and were following the money - some serious pay up there. THowever, having been in manufacturing for a long time (including running a factory in Wales).

DId you make giant wooden spoons? :unsure:

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It's happening in automotive engineering. In Germany at the moment the pay rates for cad designers are lower than the UK, it used to thirty to fifty percent higher than the UK.

Even in the UK rates are stalling, a place I used to work for is now employing eastern Europeans on far lower rates and I have it on good authority that Jaguar cars are on a major recruiting drive in eastern Europe, but then their pay rates have always been pretty dire. They are currently offering about £23 an hour which is less than I was getting in 1997 without taking into account inflation.

It will not end well.

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I graduated as a chemist but soon left the field (a year) after realising what a pittance the sector pays. The final straw was looking at job adverts asking for phDs in a specialist field of chemistry with X years experience and knowledge of X, Y, Z (as long as your arm)...£25k. The effort and knowledge required didn't match the reward for me, I didn't want to feel bitter and angry 10-20 years down the line. Then took a turn and worked for a manufacturing/engineering company and found myself by chance (nobody else stupid enough to take on the job for the pay) managing a £1.5M/month operation with 50 staff...for £26k. Did that for 2.5 years. So then I moved down South and now earn just over £40k (I'm 25) in a Quality/H&S role for a Group of companies, in theory I am doing well by most people's standards. In reality, I live in a hovel (for the price of a house up north), pay a small fortune out in travel and work related expenses, pay back a fair chunk of Student Loans each month etc. Yes, I put away a reasonable amount away each month but it is pi**ing in the wind relative to living costs down here. I am quite lost to be honest, not a clue what to do, just question what I am stressing myself out for (not like I have any prospects). I am considering just going back home and taking a £20-25k job (if I can get one again) and be done with it, I seem to have kicked on professionally but my standard of living seems to be inversely proportional to that.

The more I speak to people (of my own age), I am realising just how temporary most jobs are (my C.V. no exception), either the employer calls it time or the employee leaves to pastures new (no loyalty either way). The annoying thing is I would have hopped on a plane to Canada or Aus maybe a few years ago but now the gravy train seems to be grinding to a halt there too (not to mention their real estate markets being even more bonkers).

I have a read through job adverts myself every now and again and I am always shocked by how much some employer's ask for relative to what they pay. We are low wage Britain now. Not sure I have contributed anything here but made me feel better!

You would earn more in academia, even a lowly lecturer will reach £44k odd after enough age related increments. When i was job hunting in the early nineties I rapidly realised that industrial science jobs were ridiculously lowly paid in the UK. It was either IT or academia for me. Mind you my friend at the time went off to Canada and got an academic job out there, now roughly earns twice what i do.

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You would earn more in academia, even a lowly lecturer will reach £44k odd after enough age related increments. When i was job hunting in the early nineties I rapidly realised that industrial science jobs were ridiculously lowly paid in the UK. It was either IT or academia for me. Mind you my friend at the time went off to Canada and got an academic job out there, now roughly earns twice what i do.

Are you in science academia now then? Never really interested me and despite getting the grades I don't think I'd be up to standard. Like in your experience too, I was not really prepared for how low paying industry jobs were. I had assumed that taking on one of the most demanding and technical degrees would pay reasonably well, very wrong.

My current profession pays reasonably well but the jobs are in the South East. If you got yourself established 10-20 years ago before it went crazy down here you could probably have a decent enough life, the boat has sailed now though unless we have a crash of almighty proportions.

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In South Wales the engineering jobs are often amongst the lowest paid - be it an IT engineer or a boy doing, well, most other engineering.

This is because the public sector is the biggest employer in Wales and they simply do not rate engineering as a valuable job. Your twitter and facebook social media jobs often pay far more. Some of the Welsh NHS IT jobs pay as little as 12K a year but expect you to have a long, long list of technical skills.

Are they not just abusing the term engineer though? An IT support tech is not really an engineer. I don't know IT qualifications much but there must be lots of different levels/expertise and rates of pay.

It bugs me when people say they 'need an engineer' to mend their oven/fridge/washing machine, no you don't, you need a repairer, technician or electrician!

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Are they not just abusing the term engineer though? An IT support tech is not really an engineer. I don't know IT qualifications much but there must be lots of different levels/expertise and rates of pay.

It bugs me when people say they 'need an engineer' to mend their oven/fridge/washing machine, no you don't, you need a repairer, technician or electrician!

Yep even the old fashion plumer is a gas engineer now

I seen someone i know in the local rag described as a sanitation engineer my father would call them a road sweeper not that there's owt wrong with road sweeping as a job but engineer is more than stretching it a bit

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If I see another 65 reg SUV I will have seen, oh, five thousand and one.

Three year leases 10% deposit is all that's needed no credit checks

Could be some real bargains when it comes to second hand cars in the next couple of years

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You would earn more in academia, even a lowly lecturer will reach £44k odd after enough age related increments. When i was job hunting in the early nineties I rapidly realised that industrial science jobs were ridiculously lowly paid in the UK. It was either IT or academia for me. Mind you my friend at the time went off to Canada and got an academic job out there, now roughly earns twice what i do.

The odds of getting a science lectureship are very much stacked against you though, so not really a good career to try to get into. Most postdocs don't make it to as far as a lectureship, and postdocs very rarely get onto the pay bands that pay £44k.

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Chemistry has the lowest reward/difficulty ratio of any science. A degree pretty much qualifies you to be a technician or experimentalist. if you want to be a scientist you have to have a PhD and then, as the OP says, you're looking at starting on around 25k. Chemical engineers on the other hand can pretty much write their own ticket. We've employed recently chartered engineers on 6 figure salaries in our London office. The top 40 best paid guys in the part of the business I work for are Chemical Engineers by profession, they take home more than general managers in other parts of the business.

To add my perspective on this, from what I can see it's the fun that's gone out of work. My dad (postman for over 40 years) talks about how it was when he first started - loads of people, decent pay, loads of good people to have a laugh with. More or less run your round then get to the greasy spoon for breakfast with your mates before you had to be back at the sorting office, finish your shift then out for a swift couple of pints over lunch and home to the family. That's been replaced with jobsworths, drudgery and idiots. I expect it's pretty similar across the board.

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It bugs me when people say they 'need an engineer' to mend their oven/fridge/washing machine, no you don't, you need a repairer, technician or electrician!

I don't think they'd put up with that in Germany. You get proper Dr. Ing.s there, and I'm sure they wouldn't put up with their titles being devalued...

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Chemistry has the lowest reward/difficulty ratio of any science. A degree pretty much qualifies you to be a technician or experimentalist. if you want to be a scientist you have to have a PhD and then, as the OP says, you're looking at starting on around 25k. Chemical engineers on the other hand can pretty much write their own ticket. We've employed recently chartered engineers on 6 figure salaries in our London office. The top 40 best paid guys in the part of the business I work for are Chemical Engineers by profession, they take home more than general managers in other parts of the business.

To add my perspective on this, from what I can see it's the fun that's gone out of work. My dad (postman for over 40 years) talks about how it was when he first started - loads of people, decent pay, loads of good people to have a laugh with. More or less run your round then get to the greasy spoon for breakfast with your mates before you had to be back at the sorting office, finish your shift then out for a swift couple of pints over lunch and home to the family. That's been replaced with jobsworths, drudgery and idiots. I expect it's pretty similar across the board.

Too right on Chemistry, I'm just thankful I haven't got the £40k+ debt some graduates are going to have with it. The only thing I remember about choosing options at the time was government soundbites and my "careers advisor" forcing down my gullible neck that the U.K was in dire need of scientists and engineers - you can't go wrong with a STEM subject. Apart from a few niches (like Chemical Engineering which I regret not doing) its not amazingly well paid work in the U.K for a solid profession. And the so-called skill shortages might be to do with the fact that a lot of companies don't seem to want to invest a penny in on-the-job training. They expect all the skills and knowledge straight off-the-bat. So invariably you have the experienced people raking in the cash at the top end, consulting and whatever else and not enough bridging of the skills gap at the bottom end. I remember reading adverts for "trainee chemist" and the like and then scrolling down and finding bullet pointed "Must have 1-3 years lab experience". Just glad I'm not in that game anymore.

As for the fun being taken out of work, difficult for me to say as I have no prior experience apart from hearing other people's accounts. But I can certainly say its no fun at the moment. I was looking through my current employer's old photos (40 yr anniversary) the other day, basically looked like people having a whale of a time. Blokes having a fag at their desk, sales meetings in the pub, MD with his drinks cabinet in the corner etc. (okay not all about drinking and smoking but works for me!). Some of the stories my dad tells me...well you'd be sacked for much less now. We're all expected to be corporate drones these days.

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I earn close to £50k as a lowly engineer, non-management, for little more than getting out of bed, in one of the lesser disciplines in the North of all the paces.

You really need to vote with your feet.

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Don't expect plumbers, photocopier repairers and fridge repairers etc etc etc etc to be called anything but engineers ever in the UK. It's been like that since records began and it'll continue - it suits the sadists who run things in the UK. That and low wages (on average).

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Don't expect plumbers, photocopier repairers and fridge repairers etc etc etc etc to be called anything but engineers ever in the UK. It's been like that since records began and it'll continue - it suits the sadists who run things in the UK. That and low wages (on average).

That's an interesting point, but consider this. I am very into my family history and have a family tree with over 1000 relatives it. My great great grandfather born 1820 describes himself as "engineer in a cotton mill" he had 10 children, lived to be 89 and in the last three census returns describes himself as "living off own means". He clearly made a very good living. All (and I mean all) my other relativies are miners/labourers and dirt poor.

I get the feeling from a social history perspective that what actually as happened is that all sorts of non jobs have now become well paid whilst highly skilled ones have gone backwards. But then I guess I already knew that.

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If I see another 65 reg SUV I will have seen, oh, five thousand and one.

Very few bought with cash though..... Bought with money have yet to earn.....herein lies one of the reasons why the economy looks so healthy when there is little left to spend, and even less available to earn.

There is a glut of autos.....yesterday's work waiting to be bought and paid for.

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What a depressing thread. Largely because it's true.

I've just been binned at work and am realising that salaries are way down on where I was. I'm not overly bothered personally as, being a fully (not) paid up member of the skinflinterati, I've spent 20 years preparing for this eventuality.

But I'm depressed for my children. One has just started work for what I thought was a low wage - but on researching, I find that £20k for a job sans-degree is pretty damn good. I just hope he has the sense to stay living at home and accumulating some capital.

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Very few bought with cash though..... Bought with money have yet to earn.....herein lies one of the reasons why the economy looks so healthy when there is little left to spend, and even less available to earn.

There is a glut of autos.....yesterday's work waiting to be bought and paid for.

From what adverts I've seen though it seems you've still got to find at least £300/month to stop the thing getting taken off you though. My town looks incredibly prosperous, when I'm out driving in our 10 reg car it's generally the oldest one around. Incredibly hard to monger any doom when you're having to battle legions of mid twenties women shuttling between the gym, nursery and nail bar in shiny new German metal from dawn till dusk every ******* day.

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