Engineering staffing picks up in Michigan

04.02.2012


Engineering staffing picks up in Michigan
Companies have started engaging in robust engineering staffing in Michigan, as the local labor market picks up steam.

Companies have started engaging in robust engineering staffing in Michigan, as the local labor market picks up steam.

The number of open positions that hiring managers were looking to fill outnumbered job applicants by a ratio of almost six-to-one at a recent job fair held by the Engineering Society of Detroit, according to The Detroit Free Press. A total of 51 firms were looking to hire people to fill close to 3,500 roles.

Energy services firm DTE Energy currently has around 100 open positions for engineers to perform functions related to natural gas, power distribution, fossil fuel and nuclear power, the media outlet reports.

Companies like DTE Energy are encountering challenges finding the skilled workers they need, as many people have left Michigan in search of better job opportunities, according to the news source.

Experts stated that a significant number of people retired as a result of the Great Recession, the media outlet reports. The market observers are unable to quantify exactly how many jobs are unfilled because of the mismatch between the skills workers have and the talents that hiring managers are looking for, but they say that it is a contributor to persistently high unemployment rates. The state's online database of jobs lists 76,000 new positions per month on average, but the state had 409,000 unemployed individuals in February.

Many engineers are enjoying rising compensation, as firms encounter challenges finding the talent they need, according to the news source. Todd Soulier, talent acquisition manager for EASi, a Detroit-based engineering staffing firm and a subsidiary of Aerotek, told the media outlet that "the pay levels are beginning to increase across the board in all states, including Michigan" for workers in this industry.

An example of a company that is bolstering its engineering staffing in Michigan is Ford Motor, which is currently working on space it has in one of its research and development facilities for engineers to develop electric cars, engines and hybrids, SustainableBusiness News reports. The hiring that the carmaker is doing at its Advanced Engineering Center in Dearborn is part of the company's objective to create more than 12,000 positions in the United States by 2015.

The group of engineers that is working on developing advanced technologies at the Dearborn facility has increased by more than 100 percent to reach 1,000 over the last five years, according to the news source. The engineers employed by the the "Sustainable Mobility Technologies team" have worked on projects including satellites, aerospace, missiles and aerospace.

Although Ford Motor does not seem to be facing challenges finding the labor it needs, the shortage of skilled workers in Michigan has motivated various local organizations and companies to launch initiatives with the objective of alleviating the problem, The Detroit Free Press reports. The Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) has formed mini-talent swat teams to help companies find workers for specific industries.

"We've been seeing a number of employers raising the 'help me' flag," Amy Cell, the MEDC's senior vice president of talent enhancement, told the media outlet.

Cell identified various causes of the shortage of skilled labor, according to the news source. Aside from people leaving the state and retiring, Michigan is faced with a flagging supply of new graduates of technical programs as interest in the subjects has waned. There is also a large body of workers who need to brush up on their skills after being out of the workforce for so long. 

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