Monday, April 12, 2010

Bullshittery of the Day award: Abtran

The bullshitter of the day award goes to Mr Michael Fitzgerald of Abtran in Cork, for this wonderful answer to the question of what levels of salaries the 300 new jobs coming to his company Abtran are likely to be on offer.

I really had to laugh. Aside from the "em . . . . em . . . . em . . . em" that went on for about 1 minute, the bullshittery involved in saying "competitive" is the usual clear sign that the jobs are a) Fás level, b) the minimum wage or c) potentially unlike to ever materialize at all, like similar service centres previously announced in Cork like this one (200 jobs announced, no more than 100 ever materialized, mostly in the 20k-23k per annum salary level, and place shut down almost entirely with a cumulative loss of about 90 roles over the 5 years), this one (1100 jobs promised, none ever materialized) and my special current favourite, this one (need I say any more).

So what exactly is a "competitive package?" I have heard so many recruiters blather on about this. Certainly in IT the package is 75% of the time very standard - some kind of contribution to a DC pension, life assurance linked to X times your salary, plan-B style health insurance, in some cases extra holidays linked to your seniority, and a proper sick pay system. Only in one place did I work where this wasn't fully the case (and they were very much in the race for the bottom and getting there fast). Generally "competitive package" to me often means "We don't pay an above average salary but you'll get by." Its a classic sign of bullshittery when the MD of a company won't admit that his jobs might not be paying the expected "market rate" by giving a rough scale. (All Mr F had to do was say they will pay between X and Y and he'd covered the ground - instead he's already conveyed a lack of trust to a potential workforce in Cork sick of the lies and subterfuge of BPO and customer service employers).

Its just a good example of how being upfront and honest instead of pretence can help rather than harm yourself as a potential employer.

7 comments:

lynchjt said...

Not fair. Abtran has created a lot of jobs over the past few years. I know lots of people who have worked there, and it's not Michael FitzGerald's problem that wages have dropped like a stone.

Shoe said...

lynchjt - employers choose their wages, not employees or "the market." Whether or not Abtran pay reasonable wages is not the question - the issue is that Fitzgerald completely refused to answer the question upfront, which suggests that the salaries on offer are likely to be significantly below even the median salary of 29k never mind the so-called "average industrial wage" quoted in the press as being 32-24k depending on your source.

Try living on 20-26k for a few years and see how you feel about it then, especially if you are a "highly skilled graduate" so beloved of the press. One of the other companies I quote in the blog paid graduates a starting salary of a mere e385 a week at the height of the boom in 2003, yet we currently have hysteria over graduates being paid "only" 400 a week (the 385 is a before tax figure by the way).

The point I am trying to make in the blog is that many job announcements are highly misleading and many jobs are promised that are either short term, low pay or never materialize at all.

BPO companies incidentally usually work by displacing better paid workers for lower ones in outsourced placements, often ending up in a total offshoring in order to repeatedly match client demands for ever lower costs. Only one of the companies quoted is in this business, but if you were in the know you would be aware that they are currently displacing 38 well paid Irish workers on salaries of 35-45k in order to move the same roles to India and Malaysia for as little as 7-14k.

Shoe said...

Actually I checked with a friend who worked there who confirmed that the salary was "rubbish."

M50 said...

Abtran wages are paid once a month. Starting pay is 18,500. There is a pay freeze on for the last 4 years. About 5 years ago you started on 19,200 to get pay rises every 6 months until the wage reached 24.5/year. However a pay freeze came along and the wages were frozen. Those of us who were supposed to get a pay rise never got them. Team leaders are making little more than people on the phones.

Abtran is the worst place in Cork to work but you can use them as a stepping stone. They will hire anyone willing to work in a high pressure job for peanuts.

lynchjt you are an abtran insider obviously.

Who else but Abtran would take 200 well paid jobs from people who worked there years and convert those jobs to poorly paid jobs that Abtran are constantly looking to fill.

Now that is OUTSOURCING! That is what you get with outsourcing...poorly paid representatives that are gone before they ever really learn the job. The customer pays the same and gets worse service while a few fat cats line there Barbados Bank accounts. Now that is what I call Capitalism.

And what about the Farce that is the M50. On average three customers per day , usually foreigners on holidays, will ask "isn't this a lot of Beurocracy to take a toll?" Why yes! It is! Barrier Free Tolling is the ultimate ripoff of the Irish Taxpayer. Here is where you have a Huge French owned outsourcer called SANEF who have30 or 40 people in dublin and Abtran another150 people working to take tolls in a high pressure environment rather than a few people manning the Toll Booth. For what? So that we can experiment with technology. Barrier Free Tlling costs tens of Millions to set up and maintain - Software that does not work properly, People being sent penalty notices who have never even been on the M50.

The M50 is the thing the taxpayers should be really upset over. It is riddled with corruption.

M50 said...

Abtran wages are paid once a month. Starting pay is 18,500. There is a pay freeze on for the last 4 years. About 5 years ago you started on 19,200 to get pay rises every 6 months until the wage reached 24.5/year. However a pay freeze came along and the wages were frozen. Those of us who were supposed to get a pay rise never got them. Team leaders are making little more than people on the phones.

Abtran is the worst place in Cork to work but you can use them as a stepping stone. They will hire anyone willing to work in a high pressure job for peanuts.

lynchjt you are an abtran insider obviously.

Who else but Abtran would take 200 well paid jobs from people who worked there years and convert those jobs to poorly paid jobs that Abtran are constantly looking to fill.

Now that is OUTSOURCING! That is what you get with outsourcing...poorly paid representatives that are gone before they ever really learn the job. The customer pays the same and gets worse service while a few fat cats line there Barbados Bank accounts. Now that is what I call Capitalism.

And what about the Farce that is the M50. On average three customers per day , usually foreigners on holidays, will ask "isn't this a lot of Beurocracy to take a toll?" Why yes! It is! Barrier Free Tolling is the ultimate ripoff of the Irish Taxpayer. Here is where you have a Huge French owned outsourcer called SANEF who have30 or 40 people in dublin and Abtran another150 people working to take tolls in a high pressure environment rather than a few people manning the Toll Booth. For what? So that we can experiment with technology. Barrier Free Tlling costs tens of Millions to set up and maintain - Software that does not work properly, People being sent penalty notices who have never even been on the M50.

The M50 is the thing the taxpayers should be really upset over. It is riddled with corruption.

Shoe said...

Funny you mention m50. Aside from the gargantuan cost of tolls for anybody unfortunate enough to live/work on the wrong sides, there is a chronic issue with tolltags not working as intended. If they did, there wouldn't be need for So many 'contacts' and hence outsourcers. But you are correct in that infrastructure as essential as a key ring road shouldn't be a profit making initiative.

Corinne Gavigan said...

Yeah.... It was absolutely the worst place to work. My contract ended with them in June. They "PROMISED" to be hiring tons of people for the Local Property tax as well as Irish water, when In fact what they actually did was fire people as they were hiring new ones...good people who had been there for months were being let go for no reason and replaced by new young kids who didn't know what they were doing. The company is literally run back wards.