Bringing manufacturing jobs back is easier to say than done. Government policy can help steering the direction. Yet, more importantly, the willingness of investing into Americans by Big Corporation and of Americans to put their hand dirty are keys.
There are still quite a lot of engineers who have equipped themselves with pretty good skills and yet big corporations are reluctant to hire them for multiple reasons. The most heard is they don't have 100% of the skills needed. I heard they are demanding too much salary. Corporation wants to squeeze every penny from employees; they believe they can find similar skill level person in elsewhere if not in US. The reality is they may have hard time to find same skill level person elsewhere but they are willing to offer the job overseas because of 2 reasons. First of all, they are paid less and logically speaking, their skill level might be lower. Secondly, everybody is trainable one way or the other. The person would be shaped to the way fitting the work he/ she is doing after 6 months to a year training. It is unfortunate that both non-skilled and skilled work are going overseas. It seems unstoppable until engineers or going-to-be-engineers start doing something right. Most of all, corporation starts offering opportunity to young engineers and local candidates.
Another interesting fact is as the manufacturing job goes overseas. So does the engineering job because of inevitable reason - getting engineers and manufacturing facility closer together. If engineering job of a tech company go, would the management work go? Would the HQ be better off closer to the main facility of the company? There are seemingly unavoidable steps if what the video said is true.
It's like I said last time around. It's hard to compete when the other guys are willing to live in company dorms.
The "natural" solution to this problem is that the Chinese will rebel in their own country, against those practices. As their standard of living goes up, their wages go up, maybe they'll go through the same cultural transformation that western countries went through, after the Industrial Revolution. I mean, company dorms is something straight of of Dickens, for heaven's sake.
Failing that, the government can become heavy handed about this. I'm not sure how successful that will be, overall. And I'm not sure how the "libertarian" attitude, you know, the one that makes even such an innocuous government policy as banning the wasteful incandescent bulb a "bad thing," would react to government meddling in the free market this way.
First the manufacturing jobs go overseas, then the engineering jobs, and then the executive jobs.
...as Apple found out when Samsung decided that since they are making all the parts to the iPhone and iPad, why not just make and sell the whole thing themselves.
It is not just greed, it is shortsighted greed that is the problem.
As long as I have been working for EE Times, outsourcing has been one of the biggest hot button issues for many of our readers. And it still is. The disturbing thing is that as Chanj noted, once manufacturing goes, so goes design engineering work. Then, the next thing you know, R&D jobs will also go. We've understood this -- intuitively -- but we have absolutely done NOTHING about it thus far. We have all hidden behind big slogans like "globalization," or "the world is flat," and just let things happen.
Isn't it time to actually do something about it now?
Big corporations like Apple say that it is not their responsibility to keep jobs in the United States. That may be so. Then, whose responsibility is that?
Bert22306's reference to Dickens reminds me of Scrooge's famous line: "Are their no prisons? Are there no work houses?"
I hear the presidential candidate Romney toured a Florida manufacturing plant today, so perhaps the GOP debate may shift away from personal attacks to a real discussion about economic recovery.
$17 a day is a comfortable salary for the china living standards.Those who are in that pay scale are trained or skilled hands with diploma or basic education. China's has made their population into power and creation.If US wants to get back their production back there is only one solution.10 Robots and 1 engineer 1:10 ratio and $170 per day and they will be doing equal to 20 * $ 17 work. If US can do a little more research and adopt this technique ...
It may be political rhetoric and president Obama's call at last night's State of the Union that "we will not go back to an economy weakened by outsourcing, bad debt and phony financial profits," sure sounds promising. But it will take the real political will and the economic imperative for a united nation to deliver a concerted answer to that call.
It's important to distinguish between good electronics manufacturing jobs and not-so-good manufacturing jobs. America can't compete now with the huge-volume manufacturers like Foxconn and I'm not sure we want to build the type of infrastructure that has company executives busy with suicide watches for their workers.
Small to mid-sized electronics manufacturing in this country, on the other hand, is alive and thriving. It's thriving because it requires innovation, creativity, flexibility and design know-how--all current strengths of our electronics engineering infrastructure.
We've visited more than two dozen contract manufacturers from Middleton, Wisc., to Tampa, Fla., in the past six months on the Drive for Innovation. Not a single one is laying off; most are adding staff and many have invested in leading-edge equipment in the downturn to become more competitive with Asian manufacturers at ever-higher volumes.
You don't see that in the New York Times or or MSNBC or CNN but it's happening.
chanj: it's an ominous picture specifically for hi-tech jobs where the food chain among design, fab and assembly is so tight and has been globalized for a long time. Incentives and trade policy need to be adjusted to reflect reality.