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What's a good East Coast machinists' salary?

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  • What's a good East Coast machinists' salary?

    I know of a job opportunity in New Jersey for a skilled machinist. They're looking for someone to help fill out an R&D department, mainly machining one-off parts for prototypes and test mules, but also doing a fair chunk of the designing/inventing and probably a little troubleshooting of designs as well.

    Big company, fast-moving, has their own production facilities, the R&D department will be tasked to literally invent gadgets for the production side to build and sell. Very good market, steady growth that will likely hold fairly well for the next few years at least.

    However, the offered salary strikes me as... well, pretty low. A number significantly below anything listed as a starting-salary offer on for the same area, or as a median-wage listed on Yahoo Jobs.

    What's a fair, reasonable salary for an experienced (5-10 yr.) machinist and designer/developer for that position? Hard numbers would be great, but I'm also looking for general ranges as well.


    Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

  • #2
    What part of New Jersey? There is a very significant difference between the North, New York area and South Jersey in terms of cost of living and wages.
    Jim H.


    • #3
      Within 25 minutes of the outskirts/suburbs of Philly, from what I understand.

      Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)


      • #4
        Here's the page from for Level III Machinist in Philly:,%20Penn sylvania&jobtitle=Machinist%20III&narrowdesc=Skill ed%20and%20Trades#bottom
        Barry Milton


        • #5
          What's up leavin "The North" ?
          I have tools I don't even know I own...


          • #6
            Don't know. Had an offer from a fellow that came to me, specifically, due to what he's seen of my skill and capabilities. I insisted I didn't want to haggle or dicker, he should just name a salary. He haggled anyway, so I dickered in return, and when a number was finally mentioned, my first impression was that a full-timer at McDonalds' could make more.

            We sparred a bit more, things got heated, he finally revealed what I'd suspected all along, that the boss just wanted a button-pusher/handle-turner, and from the price, one straight out of school and willing to take that little just because the job was "cool".

            He's tired of arguing with me, I'm tired of arguing with him, and they didn't come anywhere near to offering me enough to make me leave a paid-for house and shop, move 6,000 miles and live in an apartment.

            In the meantime, I've checked Yahoo Jobs, and a couple of other resources, and the median wage for a machinist with some experience averages an easy 20% to 30% over their "best, if I can maybe get it okayed with the boss" price, and a solid 50% more than their first numbers.

            So I figured I'd poke around and see what you guys know of the pricing scale. From what little I've gathered so far, in a couple of posts like this, that the Monster/Yahoo values are not out of line, and are actually pretty close.

            Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)


            • #7
              I work in NJ as a machinist and I can tell you, the pay sucks. I think it's mostly due to the attitude that they can replace you with immigrants and will offer you as little as possible. I currently make $13/hr, but I went to the interview asking $17/hr. Doc, I don't know what they offered you, but living in the Trenton area isn't cheap. figure a grand a month for an apartment, plus utils. and wait till you see what car insurance will cost you... Doc, did this job mention overtime at all? Alot of the shops I've worked in have had a 60-70hr workweek as typical.


              This Old Shed
              EGO partum , proinde EGO sum


              • #8
                I can't comment on the pay other then what I have seen in Monster, but if you do decide to take the job, make sure you are comfortable moving to a city environment along with the attitudes that come with it. I lived in a suburban area of NJ before moving to CT last year and can tell you your patience will run thin very quick. There is more congestion then you can imagine and as already stated, prices are outrageous, even 30+ miles away from the cities. If you can put up with the commute, living in PA or further south in NJ you can find decent prices, but you will blow that in your commuting costs.

                If you are serious about moving there, take a look the housing prices before commiting and it wouldn't hurt to get an insurance quote for your car. Expect to pay at least $1000 per car and if you have had any accidents recently, you might not be able to get insurance at any price.


                • #9

                  Does the 5-10 year you stated include time in apprenticeship? or after?

                  Htrn, it sounds like you'er getting ripped.



                  • #10
                    From what I know of the East coast, there is not a good east coast wage nothing is worth going east.If you dont beleive me look at HTRN's reply, nothing against him, but it seems to be the general attitude.



                    • #11
                      i live in south central pa. and i hear of all the high paying jos but never find them. i was running a tool room fixing dies, making weld fixtures. making repare parts for the machines. was making 13.25 hour.the .25 was a yearly raise after i did 2 producton changes the saves them over $60,000 a year. i dont work there any more.
                      i see jobs around here in the paper forklift drivers and assemablers 11-12 hour. welders 10 a hour a little mixed up i think.


                      • #12
                        I hear all this high wage talk about the east and west coast too, have for most of my life. Once you start getting right down to cases about living expenses, mortgages and home prices, car insurance in a world packed like sardines, it sorta loses its charm, and the wages ain't all that hot either.


                        • #13
                          I hate to say it but I think that machinists are grossly underpaid. If you want to make the big bucks, you have to learn how to s**** people.

                          Paul A.
                          Paul A.
                          SE Texas

                          Make it fit.
                          You can't win and there IS a penalty for trying!


                          • #14
                            You have to figure that the man paying his guy $15/hr is probably actually paying $25/hr with workers comp, insurance and paying someone to keep all of it straight. Add to that vacation and sick leave days/ year where he's paying someone NOT to be at work and it's probably higher...
                            Now figure in CHEAP shipping prices from asia, slave wages and unsafe working conditions for competitors.
                            It's hard to compete with that and still make any $$ for the owner or shareholders.
                            I KNOW NOTHING about running a business or paying people so I may be off base but I suspect I may be close.
                            Now that greedy American oilmen are about to control iraq's oil, fuel costs are going to skyrocket. Not sure what that's gonna do...

                            Hoffman in Warner Robins Ga


                            • #15
                              YOU FORGOT if they have a parking lot for employees the free monthly parking fees in some areas it could be 60 to 80 bucks a month,thats.25 per hr.