I started a new job after almost almost 14 years at a previous job.
The reasons? Firstly, the previous business decided two years ago, when it became apparent to me they were not interested keeping with the times and selling/servicing new devices such as self-service checkouts (even though they are exclusively partnered in Australia with another business which manufacture such devices) and instead just waiting to obtain more servicing contracts - of bank networks with slowly reducing ATM numbers and
Second, I was not ever going to get regular eight hour, non-shift days, Monday to Friday - I was originally hired to do this but the day I started I was told I would be on the CLM (seven day, varying shift times) roster but when it was possible, I would be able to go to 9-5 Mon-Fri. I waited 12 years and two years ago was told it would never happen.
ATM's and cash are dying a slow death.
I think Cash will always be around to some extent and ATM’s will likely always remain in branches but it will be a shadow of what it is, even now.
About 1 year ago, we saw in a meeting that showed transaction usage has gone from 20% electronic / 80% cash 15 years ago to 60% electronic / 40% cash in 2017.
The reduction in ATM’s really became apparent earlier this year when most of the big banks introduced fee-free cash withdrawals. The problem this caused is the off-site (non-bank branch) ATM's went from making the banks a tidy profit to costing them money - and we all know any business, banks included, don’t like things that cost them money!
It costs a lot to have an offsite ATM - bunker room rent, power, alarms, communications - two lines both for ATM and alarms, the ATM itself, repairs and upgrade projects and cashing the machine. As such, I would estimate an ATM costs on average around $1000 per week to keep running.
Since January, I would guess based on what I have seen, more than 100 ATM's from a major ATM network have been removed and continue to be removed, including the closing of several bank branches throughout the state. Talking with others at different companies in the industry, the story is the same.
We were busy before I left but this was mostly due to the new $50 notes having major problems with one of the major ATM brands we service, and project work is still going on to upgrade machines to accept the new notes.
After this dries up, I forecast things will likely be quiet, and continue to get quieter.
After I had already resigned, we received an email from the parent company, asking employees if we had any ideas to generate business and make more money.
Not too good for confidence in the company!
Due to inside knowledge of the industry I believe to be winding down, I was more than a little doubtful when going for an interview with my new potential employer.
I went in to the interview, honest and saying I wasn't really keen to work on machines that were quickly becoming obsolete and I was interested in what else they serviced.
Interestingly, they showed me their stats on equipment they service - only 10% of their work is ATM's as they recognised long ago ATM's are a dying industry, especially with the banks pushing for a cashless society.
Their workload generally consists of (roughly) 10% ATM work, 40% self-service checkouts, 20% point of sales equipment and 30% back-end server maintenance (the computers in phone exchanges and businesses which manage internet data flow and caching, which you would never know they are there unless told so). Compared to the employer I resigned from, which has (roughly) 80% ATM work, 20% cash dispensing safes work.
The new employer has a 10 year and beyond plan – some things which I cannot mention as I have already signed an agreement but that which I can mention includes next generation self-service checkouts which use 3D cameras to determine what you are purchasing and also portable, cost effective eftpos equipment for the likes of sole traders – technologies which are, like it or not, part of an evolving society.
So even though, as some people knew, I was looking for a job as an electronics technician (which is my actual qualification) with major local electronics manufacturers, I have continued in the field service industry. Some good changes have come about such as set hours of 8:30am to 4:15 pm five days a week, flexible working arrangements, a very fair pay bonus for doing an 'altered shift' of working Saturdays but getting Monday's off, working alone - I no longer have to drive for up to an hour to pick up a guard before I start my shift.
I start from home and finish at home - commute to work is literally walking from the front door to the work car and it is classified as a 'work from home' job. I also won’t travel as far, the south will be my region, within a 30km radius from my house.
Looking forward to the change!
References (apart from my own industry knowledge!)
Michael Dahlenburg is an electronics technician currently working in the Commercial transaction IT industry. He is non-denominational and has previously been involved in church plants and assisting those in ministry. His interests include; enjoying family, home DIY, gardening, and most things tech-related and driving his wife crazy with a constant stream of inventions! He lives with his wife Michelle and three children in God’s own land of Southern Adelaide, Australia.
Michael Dahlenburg’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/michael-dahlenburg.html