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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.

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Ford Adding 2,200 New Salaried Jobs

The “direct result” of the One Ford plan, says new president.

by on Jan.11, 2013

Joe Hinrichs became Ford's new President of the Americas last month.

Ford Motor Company plans to hire 2,200 salaried workers in the U.S. this year – the largest increase in new salaried workers in more than a decade.

The move comes a day after the market announced it would double its quarterly dividend in recognition of its improving financial condition. The maker yielded a more than 11% profit margin for the first nine months in its core North American operations.

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After years of deep cuts, the auto industry has been among the most aggressive sectors of the economy when it comes to adding jobs over the last several years, Ford’s announcement coming a day after both Honda and General Motors announced significant plans to recruit more blue and white-collar workers of their own.

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Ford Investing $6.2 Billion, Creating 12,000 New Jobs

Plan aimed to “ensure our aggressive growth plans.”

by on Dec.27, 2012

A Ford worker at the Flat Rock Assembly plant.

Ford Motor Co. plans to invest $6.2 billion to expand its U.S. manufacturing base, a move that will help it save 3,240 existing jobs and add another 12,000 positions by 2015.

A large chunk of the investment will go into the maker’s home state of Michigan which will see the addition of 2,350 new jobs.

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“These investments, many of which are already under way, will ensure our southeast Michigan manufacturing facilities can support our aggressive growth plans,” said Jim Tetreault, the Ford vice president in charge of North American manufacturing.

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Auto Industry on Hiring Binge

Domestics and imports both putting out “Help Wanted” signs.

by on Jul.07, 2011

VW has already hired 2,000 workers at its new Chattanooga plant and will add still more for a planned second shift.

It seemed like the best of times; following its takeover by the German Daimler AG, Chrysler counted nearly 71,000 hourly workers on its U.S. payroll.  But by the time the partnership collapsed and the maker was rapidly plunging into bankruptcy, in 2009, the blue collar workforce had slipped to just 21,000.

The situation wasn’t all that different across town.  As the industry sank into its worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s, and many analysts began to doubt whether Detroit’s Big Three makers would survive, the makers raced to close plants, abandon unpopular brands and slash employment.  Once employing close to a million hourly and salaried workers worldwide, General Motors emerged from its own run through Chapter 11 with a workforce barely a tenth that size.

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But two years later, there’s a very different situation.  Chrysler, for one, has boosted its blue collar headcount by more than 2,000 since hitting bottom in ’09, and several company sources tell TheDetroitBureau.com that the maker is likely to keep rebuilding its factory rolls, especially if sales and share keep rebounding.  GM and Ford are also hiring.

And the “Help Wanted” signs aren’t just out in Detroit.  The new Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee has already hired 2,000 workers, while that number will grow by at least another thousand when the maker adds an anticipated second shift at the sprawling factory, which is producing an all-new version of the midsize Passat designed specifically for the American market.

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