Detroit Automakers Step Up to Recruit Millennials

dv2054008In a race against Silicon Valley, Detroit automakers step up their recruiting game

The Detroit automotive giants are in serious need of STEM talent to be key leaders in the next wave of automotive technology. With the appeal of Silicon Valley’s hot start-up culture pulling away talented millennials, Detroit automakers are definitely in the race for today’s top engineering, design and IT grads. In the article, “Recruiting Against the Valley,” featured in Detroiter magazine, Detroit auto execs from Chrysler, Nissan and OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) give the biggest reasons that millennials need to consider America’s auto industry to move their careers forward.

Automakers ARE the forefront of technology
After working with Chrysler in Detroit for the past 25 years, we are very familiar with the high caliber of talent recruited in the Detroit area. The automotive industry is constantly changing and the cars on the road today and in the future, are an extension of the driver. Nissan senior vice president for research and development, Carla Bailo said, “We need the car to behave and think like a person. This runs the gamut from information technology, alternative powertrains, connected vehicle cloud infrastructure, battery and fuel cell research, et cetera.” It will be up to the next generation to push past the smart cars of today that can sense their surroundings, react to voice commands and connect with smart phones.

The world’s largest companies are listening to you
The entrepreneurial spirit of the startup culture is not the only thing drawing the millennial generation to its doors; it is also the ability to be the decision makers. While large corporations can make entry level positions seem miles from the time, they are actually much flatter organizations. Georgette Borrego Dulworth, Chrysler’s director of talent acquisition and diversity comments, “An entry-level employee at Chrysler Group LLC is only seven levels removed from Chairman and CEO Sergio Marchionne. … In a flatter organization such as ours, our people have significant exposure to senior management.”

PREMIUM CONTENT: U.S. March Jobs Report

Large companies move quicker than you think
As long time recruiters in Detroit, we understand the reservations that the millennial generation has with the auto industry, one of the largest being that large companies don’t move quickly or provide enough variety. As a generation, millennials switch positions or companies every 5 years, which can mean rebuilding entire professional networks, rapport and reputations. Dulworth says, “A career at Chrysler can provide variety sooner without having to leave and rebuild your network in a new company. There are so many opportunities here to build on your expertise.” President and CEO of the Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA), Julie A. Fream, also comments, “Companies are doing more to retain talent rather than lose it at that five to 10 year mark…They are presenting their people with more opportunities for development as they hit the three to five year mark.” The auto industry in Detroit can offer much more diversity in projects and positions than perception holds.

And larger automakers have even more of  an incredible competitive edge against the start-up culture that is currently attracting the top IT and engineering talent. If you know that someone is or will be a graduate in IT or engineering fields with a potential interest in the automotive industry, let us know. We have plenty of opportunities that may be their dream job.

MORE: Get behind these trends

Elyse Lopez
Elyse Lopez is communications coordinator at Brightwing. She can be reached at elopez (at) gobrightwing (dot) com.

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