WANTED: Auto engineers in US

2012-08-17 12:50

Demand for auto engineers in Michigan in the US is remarkable, so much so that Andrew Watt, whose iTalent finds engineering and IT workers for companies in nine states, claims the "shelf life" of an auto engineer looking for a job is three days.

Watt said: "If their skills are even on the edges of automotive, they can get a job, there’s an extreme shortage. There's way more demand than supply.”


Companies are so desperate for engineering and IT workers, according to Watt, that they've increased salaries and bonuses.  A recent recruit got (the equivalent of) about R140 000 as a raise and a bonus of as much as 20% to move from Tennessee to Michigan.

Engineers who design cars and parts have been in demand across America for years. Michigan governor Rick Snyder claimed the problem lay in the gap between what firms need and what the education system produces.

"We've had kind of a dumb system in our country," said Snyder. "The private sector is out with its demand and supply people, the educational system, there's no strategic perspective to say let's match supply and demand."


GM, Ford, Chrysler and Nissan, among others, have pursued plans to seek new engineers for jobs in Michigan in the last several months. Martha Schanno, SEA recruitment and sales manager, said this has led to a spike in job openings on the website for the Society of Automotive Engineers International.

“Normally, there are fewer than 100 job postings and that number has swelled to more than 400, with about 300 from Chrysler alone.”