Anyone here in the print trade and earning more than £50K? What do you do?

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  • Anyone here in the print trade and earning more than £50K? What do you do?
  • bradley
    Member

    Just curious what roles and responsibilities you might have at this level in print. I know some press minders earn £50K but not many at all, mostly nightshift also…

    Myself? Just out of an apprenticeship in print after 18 months earning £12K a year running a Heidelberg 2 col.

    ScottChegg
    Member

    I am a Time served Printer, but moved along still with the same company in a less ‘hands on’ position. I ran a 7 colour press and got around £30K for it. In 1992.

    Our press ops (Gravure and Flexo) are on a good rate + shift premiums + overtime. Many earn in excess of £50K.

    Obvious questions are; where are you? Do you work shifts or days? Are you fully (NVQ etc.) qualified?

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen
    Subscriber

    I can sense an incoming tide of alarm and dismay swelling from people who went to university 🙂

    warton
    Member

    I was a slitter, for a brief period in the late 1990s. I wanted to become a printer, but there were no openings, wish i’d stuck at it tbh, printers were on daft money(3 shift system) but I was going ou to much, and the early shifts were killing me, so I jacked it in…

    the teaboy
    Member

    What type of print?

    I’m in a print-related industry but 90% is now digital and what little print remains is outsourced to India (edit: or Wales).

    ScottChegg
    Member

    I went to Uni too.

    But after spending all your life in education and associated poverty, the lure of good hard cash is a terrible thing.

    bradley
    Member

    Gravure and Flexo earn more though don’t they anyways than litho? My apprenticeship was done through BPIF and City and Guilds not sure what the qualification is as I haven’t received the final certificate yet. We’re based in Oxford and have a career plan in place for me to start learning our Heidelberg Anicolor in the new year. I’m just interested in hearing what’s out there other than at Hunts (where I work).

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    In the good old days (70s) printers earned an absolute fortune. My father was MD of a company which had a printing division and the printers all earned more than the CFO and the MD!

    In a different life I worked developing semiconductor LASER arrays for Heidleberg to use in their big machines. I dont know if that ever took off. Nowhere near 50k though, just enough to fund a growing mtb addiction that eventually cost me that career 🙂

    slowmart
    Member

    There’s still a massive over capacity within the industry and there are not that many companies investing.

    The digital market is under pressure as the latest XL’s and Komori’s make ready times are down to 6-10 minutes. There is also the online offering where printers are ganging up on a sheet.

    If I were the OP I would look for job security then consider a career path.

    Essentially print is delivering information and we are building a digital team as we speak. We’ve kept the revenue, lost the print and now delivering online material. That transition has taken place over the last twelve months. That said print has a market, augmented reality is aspect which brings together all the available platforms.

    Bradley, the anicolour is fine as a press but I would try and get onto the larger litho machines as the remuneration should be better. The make ready times are quicker but its only SRA3 and loses out to SRA2 and B2 presses for creating value which is the route you need to take if your after the larger pay packet.

    bradley
    Member

    We have a B2 press aswell and are looking at buying a new one in the new year. It’s all natural progression. Our company’s doing exceptionally well at the moment, over the last 3 years turnover has doubled and it’s up 20% this year so far. Obviously 1 quarter left but even traditional ‘quiet’ times are busy for us as we have a creative team, media marketing and all sorts. Our digi dept is v.busy all the time too.

    We’re not a ‘stack em high sell em cheap’ company. Quite expensive actually but we do deliver top quality imo. I don’t plan on staying on the presses either but not sure how to go about it…

    Most printers I deal with are expanding into digital and short run, as well as using digi methods for getting and proofing artwork. Either that or they do very quick turnaround short run jobs.

    While I don’t think print is dead (or will die), I do think it’s suffering.

    bradley
    Member

    It’s very odd hearing people say ‘print is suffering’ when we are constantly busy…

    johndoh
    Member

    But Bradley – how many printers are there (ie, competition) in your area compared to 15 years ago?

    I’ve seen a few good companies go buts over the years and even the ones that survived are diversifying.

    Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    The death of print has been greatly exaggerated. It seems to be going one of two ways. Short run digital, often personalised/Mail Merged etc. Or poncey high end design, on decent stock with spot metallics, varnishes, cutters, and stuff all over the shop

    Either way, whichever I’m doing, you print monkeys usually manage to **** it up 😆

    It’s very odd hearing people say ‘print is suffering’ when we are constantly busy…

    You’re obviously very good. 🙂

    It’s only what I’ve seen from my side as a designer – there was a noticeable lull in printing as opposed to PDFing and posting online, with a more recent slight move back toward printing.

    Wideopen Mag is a good example of this.

    From my perspective I can see a middle ground being reached between the two (print and web).

    Edit:

    But Bradley – how many printers are there (ie, competition) in your area compared to 15 years ago?

    The agent I used at my last job (my years ago) certainly saw a few fold while I dealt with him.

    bradley
    Member

    I don’t know about the last 15 years as I’ve only been in this game for 2 years but a few of the guys we’ve employed lately were redundant until joining us. It’s funny how you describe that work because we do both of those. Lots of spot uv/foil block folders etc and short run digi stuff mainly ordered online by our clients. Lots of mailing for our biggest clients. Poncey design work too…you should see our Christmas advents *facepalm*

    slowmart
    Member

    Bradley, look at your business strategically. See what areas are under the most sustained pressure as no doubt those areas will be looking for extra resource.

    Wanting to progress is always the most important aspect and start taking an interest in the other areas of the business. Here’s the rub though. You need to excel at your present role and take on the learning in your own time. Any prior perceptions will change with most half decent managers taking note.

    I’m paying for degree courses for two employees. One who showed potential on the macs after starting in finishing and one individual who wrote an eloquent letter, passed some challenges we set, to start a new role within the business and a degree course.

    Everyone of my senior management team started at the bottom, showed an appetite for doing more and not being constrained by obstacles of hindered by negativity. I feed and support ethos and the business has grown over 600% in the last seven years. That’s working collaboratively together and ensuring I go to my colleagues and saying well done and here’s our appreciation. It also means having a sales led organisation and taking a broad perspective on future revenue streams and ensuring colleagues have enough support. That’s one of my roles.

    Given your growth companies growth the owner will be looking to upscale cost effectively and with some safe pairs of hands which is an ideal time for a conversation.

    Going back to that letter it was the enthusiasm and need to self improve which made me take note. Give me that quality every time over experience!

    Good luck

    ScottChegg
    Member

    Essentially print is delivering information

    No, it isn’t.

    There are plenty of versions of printing that supply into other industries.

    We do packaging; mainly for food. Everyone likes pretty pictures on their biscuit packs. And kidz went bonkers for Coke bottles with their names on them.

    Essentially print is delivering information

    you could argue the same for design.

    But what is ‘information’? 😉

    wait4me
    Member

    I think you’d be doing well to get to 50k if you stay on the presses. Your problem is that there is a large amount of highly skilled guys out there out of work so the supply/demand equation is very much in the favour of the employer. In fact i would say that half that figure is possibly more representative unless you are working in the London area. Good guys with plenty of experience might get 10k more but i’m afraid the good old days are most certainly gone. In my opinion you’ll need to break into management or sales and be very good at them to hit 50k.

    Sorry if it sounds a bit depressing, but i am 45 and my wage in real terms, not even taking into account inflation is less than I was on the year after I finished my apprenticeship…mind you I truly rinsed it back then 🙂

    Premier Icon sandal100
    Subscriber

    I’m not far off 50k and I’m a time served finisher running a perfect binder. Starting to move up into management as well. I do a lot of overtime though.

    Basil
    Member

    Printers, dicks

    bradley
    Member

    I don’t intend to stay on the presses.

    Mikeypies
    Member

    The way print seems to be going is lots of digital boys and a few big litho operators using economies of scale to get the pricing down as customers come in with quotes from Ireland and what was eastern europe which are cheaper than the paper costs in the UK.

    If you are running a Heidelberg 2 colour its a good background but old school (you will be able to set up a digital Press better than most(copier/printer)) and have a printers eye which is a good thing but they are on their way out you need to get on to the bigger presses quick or go digital, the bigger presses if you want good money I guess

    good luck

    bradley
    Member

    The 2 col in my place isn’t going anywhere for a while. I would quite like to train to operate in our digital department. Do you think it’d be possible for me to take on another apprenticeship whilst still maintaining output on the 2col? I’d have to work like 12hr days to make it work for both depts I guess…

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