Ford Motor Co. hopes to hire about 3,000 engineers and other professionals this year a third more than originally planned — but standing conventional wisdom on its head, the Detroit maker is finding it difficult to come up with enough ready, willing and able white-collar workers to fill all those spots.
And it’s not alone. Cross-town rivals General Motors and Chrysler have been trying to re-fill their own employee ranks decimated by cutbacks during the Great Recession, as have scores of automotive suppliers. But a surprising number of those slots remain open for lack of qualified talent.
“It’s much more difficult getting the right people” than it was in decades past, laments Felicia Fields, group vice president of Human Resources for Ford, reflecting a shift in “the type of people” the automaker needs in an era when high technology systems have become as much a part of today’s vehicles as traditional, mechanical devices.