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Ford Wants to Boost White-Collar Hiring by 36% – But Struggles to Find the Talent

Maker turns to Silicon Valley for qualified electronic engineers.

by on Jul.23, 2013

Ford has plenty of jobs open. Now it needs to find the right candidates - but that isn't as easy as in the past.

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.

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“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.


Nissan, Toyota, Hyundai Planning Job Hiring Binge in Detroit

But makers could face engineer supply shortage.

by on Jan.13, 2012

A Venza at the new Toyota engineering center near Detroit, which also includes a new test track.

It may be the home of the Big Three but Detroit has also become a major engineering center for foreign makers as diverse as Mercedes-Benz and India’s Tata Motors.  And now, three of the largest Asian makers are stepping up hiring as they expand their Motor City R&D centers.

Collectively, Toyota, Nissan and Hyundai expect to add nearly 400 employees in the Detroit suburbs this year, with additional engineering-related jobs to be offered in 2013 and beyond.

With Nissan moving more engineering work to the US, the Japanese automaker is plans to hire as many as 150 additional engineers this year at its technical center in Farmington Hills to handle a steadily increasing work load.

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“We haven’t hired any new engineers in three or four years,” said Carla Bailo, president Nissan Technical Center North America. In addition, the center lost employees following the 2008 financial crisis. “We have a lot of very good senior engineers. But we need to bring on new and emerging talent,” Bailo said.


Reinventing the SAE World Congress

by on Apr.27, 2010

The annual gathering of auto engineers, the SAE World Congress, has been shrinking for years. But the 2010 event was intentionally downsized, claim its organizers.

If the SAE World Congress looked smaller to those attending the industry’s premier automotive engineering event at Detroit ‘s Cobo Center earlier this month, that’s because it was smaller – by design, according to conference organizers, though recent history shows the once massive event has been shriveling on its own for a number of years.

Some 300 companies exhibited at the event last year but the 2010 World Congress saw just 103 firms on the floor, according to Andrew Brown Jr., chief technologist at Delphi Corporation and president of the SAE for 2010. The number of papers presented at the conference was smaller, as well – about 1,090 versus 1,370 in 2009 – and attendance was down from 16,000 to somewhere beyond 10,000.

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“The food court was nearly as big as the displays,” complained one participant, asking not to be named, but echoing a comment heard repeatedly during this year’s show.