A friend forwarded some ‘bad’ news for Penang. Amphenol from the United States is closing down one of its manufacturing plans in Penang and will relocate its mobile devices and mobile networks operations to China. 150 workers including engineers and operators will be affected by the move. The reason for moving is simple, they bought FCI Asia PTE Ltd, a global leader in providing interconnect solutions for telecommunications, wireless and data companies and there is no reason to maintain two sites. Let’s understand that this kind of move is because of consolidation to ensure better cost efficiency and effectiveness of operations. This will happen during any time and has nothing to do with a crisis.
Second piece of news was about Sanmina Corp taking over Motorola Solutions facility in Bayan Lepas in early 2016. This is the Technoplex manufacturing facility. As per news thus far, the R&D operations in Penang for Motorola will be unchanged which meant that it will continue to serve all its customers worldwide. Sanmina is a Nasdaq listed integrated manufacturing solutions provider. This meant that costs are critical to its business and if it chooses to maintain the R&D centre, it meant that this facility is still competitive versus the world. In fact whether this R&D centre would continue to operate depends on the contribution from the 3,000 headcount there.
Fortunately for Penang, as long as these headcount are willing to join another organisations, it would be easy to find employment. Just browse jobstreet.com.my and you would understand what I mean. This is because despite these hiccups, the shortage of engineers in Penang are still continuing. My friends who are in the HR departments of manufacturing companies are still telling me that it’s hard to hire suitable engineers. The slightly better ones are very highly paid. Sometimes, too highly paid too. A friend told me that her husband has been trying to find a new job for over 1.5 years but has yet to find any suitable ones. He is 32 years old and earns RM8,000 as a senior engineer. While there is nothing wrong with earning higher but being paid much higher but working as only a senior engineer? I seriously think this is not sustainable in the long run unless he is also being promoted upwards. I could only wish him the best.
We should stay focussed. Being paid ever higher but doing the same thing every year meant that the company that we are working is getting less competitive versus the world. As for us, we are getting less competitive versus other ‘cheaper’ engineers in the market. Aim at improving, aim at working harder to get promotions and not be too complacent with a high pay and less work. At the same time, the money earned should be better invested and not wasted on more powerful cars or luxury handbags or even expensive foreign trips. The world continues to change at a fast pace and that high paying job may no longer be around tomorrow simply because there are lots of poorer nations with better people willing to do more for less pay. Are we prepared? I think that’s a question all of us should ask ourselves seriously today.
written on 24 Oct 2015
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