Ford To Hire 3,000 White-Collar Workers -- Via Social Media

Ford unleashed plans on Tuesday to hire 3,000 salaried employees – 800 more than previously expected – mostly in the technical field as it looks to expand its fleet of fuel-efficient cars and trucks to meet rapidly expanding demand.

The Detroit automaker says 80% of the new hires will be "technical professionals," focusing on product development, manufacturing, quality, purchasing and information technology. Ford says it will target fresh tech-savvy talent using social media sites like Twitter.

The salaried hiring spree follows the 1,850 full-time workers Ford hired last year and comes on top of the 12,000 hourly positions it agreed to add in its domestic market by 2015. Up to 90% of the jobs will be located in Michigan, with the remaining spread throughout Ford's other locations in the U.S.

"Engineers and technical professionals are in as much demand as our cars, trucks and SUVs," Felicia Fields, Ford's president for human resources, said in a statement.

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She says global demand and increasing capacity in North America and Asia requires Ford to "aggressively seek out" new employees with technical expertise. The new goal of 3,000 marks a 36% increase over Ford's original projection of 2,200 announced in January.

Ford has been rapidly gaining U.S. market share, eating away at some of its biggest rivals from Japan like Toyota (TM) and Honda (HON) as consumer preference rebounds for all-American trucks like the F-150 and compact cars. The company reported its best June sales since 2006 this year, climbing 14% year-over-year to 194,114, and has seen surging growth on the West Coast and in Miami in what it calls its "super sector," or cars ranging from sub-compact vehicles to midsize sedans and crossovers.

Social Media at Play

Ford in its latest spree is taking greater use of social media for recruitment, a sign it is hunting for tech-savvy Millennials, a large majority of whom hunt for jobs on social networking sites like LinkedIn (LNKD), Facebook (FB) and Twitter on their PCs and mobile phones.

Ford said the campaign, which it is dubbing "The Distance Between You and an Amazing Career Has Never Been Shorter," is an effort to attract talent to its newly-incubated "fresh and innovative image."

"The type of talent we want at Ford are often searching for and evaluating potential employers on social media sites, so expanding our recruiting efforts on these channels ensures we have a strong presence throughout their selection process," Fields said.

Mobile job searching was up 95% year-over-year in 2012, according to the latest data from hourly recruiting site Snagajob, giving job seekers the ability to peruse hundreds of positions at the tip of a finger.

"Job seekers by and large are changing the way they are looking for jobs," Snagajob spokesperson Courtney Moyer said. The number of people looking for jobs on their mobile devices is "just growing exponentially," she said.

At the same time, diversifying recruitment efforts across multiple channels has become imperative.

To give some perspective, just 16% of job seekers visited a company's social media site to find a job in 2012, while 42% hunted for jobs on broader social media and job sites. 25% learned of a job when their "friend" shared it online, according to Snagajob data.

Moyer says it has required companies to branch out their media channels, including posting jobs on their own sites while reaching out to online recruiting sites and social media outlets.

Meanwhile, Ford also plans to increase its recruiting efforts on college campuses.

6 Wild And Weird Ways Cities Are Luring Tech Talent
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Ford To Hire 3,000 White-Collar Workers -- Via Social Media

The Wild Tactic: As Detroit’s economy crumbled over the last few decades, talented kids began fleeing in hordes. Leslie Smith is trying to turn that around, as the CEO of Tech Town, a 43-acre tech park in the heart of Detroit’s downtown. It provides 220 companies with space, feed funding, coaching, and networking, thanks to government funding, philanthropic gifts, and bucket loads of private sector cash.

The Problem: Detroit is a car city, and the public transportation system is underfunded and bordering on crisis. Smith also describes the culture in Detroit as “raw” and “gritty.” Others call it a “crime-ridden,” “decayed” and “racially divided.”

The Pitch: “There's something about being in on the ground floor that attracts entrepreneurs, and Silicon Valley doesn't feel like the ground floor anymore,” explains Jake Cohen, vice president of venture capital firm Detroit Venture Partners. "In 10 years, Silicon Valley is going to be great, and it's great today. In Detroit, the city is going to be totally different in 10 years. Do you want to be a part of that?"

See homes for sale and for rent in Detroit.

The Wild Tactic: “Texas has a reputation for this pioneering mentality,” says Julie Huls, the president of the Austin Technology Council. “We are very focused. We are very organized. We are very competitive. We like to win in Austin, Texas.”

But Austin’s greatest recruitment strategy came about pretty accidentally. It happens to host the biggest tech festival in America.

In five years, South by Southwest Interactive has grown from the smallest to the biggest portion of the week-long event. “I hear so many stories of people who came to Austin for South by Southwest and ended up moving here, and finding business partners here,” explains Hugh Forrest, the director of South by Southwest Interactive.

The government has also been more than willing to sweeten the deal. Since 2006, it’s given out over $370 million to promising tech companies.

The Pitch: “Don’t you want to live here all your round?” asks Forrest. “It’s really cool in March, and pretty cool the rest of the time.”

The Problem: Austin has been called "The Allergy Capital of the World." Techies may be renowned for their mighty minds, but not necessarily for robust immune systems.

See homes for sale and for rent in Austin.

The Wild Tactic: Chattanooga is the only city in the western hemisphere where every resident has access to gig-a-second Internet, and it’s hoping to take advantage of its status as "Gig City."

“We’re literally 10, 15 years ahead of the rest of the country,” explains Sheldon Grizzle, the founder of Chattanooga’s The Company Lab, which provides resources to entrepreneurs. “If your city had electricity 10 or 15 years before the rest of the country, what would you have done with it?”

Grizzle realized that if they were going to do anything with it, they needed to scoop up a lot of bright minds. “We have to think a little more creatively than places like Boston, New York or Silicon Valley,” he says. “Chattanooga is not on the beaten path, and it's certainly not for tech entrepreneurs.”

So Grizzle came up with a neat idea: give tech entrepreneurs cash. As part of an initiative called "GeekMove," Web developers who move to Chattanooga can have up to $10,000 discounted from their mortgages. Ten startups can get $15,000 for incubating their product in Chattanooga, with a $100,000 grant given to the best. And from a select group of students who are spending the summer in town for a hacker think tank, one will leave with $50,000. Residents who take part in a “Geek Hunt” can score a $1,000 finder’s fee if a tech person they've recommended is accepted to the program.

The Pitch: A chance at a $100,000 prize, and mind-blowing bandwidth.

The Problem: Where exactly is Chattanooga?

See homes for sale and for rent in Chattanooga.

The Wild Tactic: In just five years, Orlando has given birth to a 7,000-acre “Medical City.” Orlando was already home to over 100 biotech companies, when the University of Central Florida founded a medical school there, followed by three institutes for medical research. A veteran’s hospital, children’s hospital and another research center are on the way. Orlando is now home to a 600-acre science and technology playground.

To get those students to stick around, 75 percent of the price tag at Florida’s three public universities is covered by the government. And members of the founding class at the University of Central Florida medical school were given a free ride for their entire education. “It shows that we’re serious,” says Randy Berridge, the president of the Florida High Tech Corridor Council.

The council has also given out $57 million, on top of $151 million of private sector money, to bring in professors and graduate students, to act as consultants for real companies. It’s an unprecedented marriage of private profit-making and academic expertise. About 2,400 students have already taken part.

The Pitch: Go to school here, and you’ll graduate debt free and with experience at a local tech company.

The Problem: The public education system is “uneven,” says Thad Seymour, who leads the strategic planning of Orlando’s Medical City. And if you want a lot of talent, you’re going to have to grow some of it yourself.

See homes for sale and for rent in Orlando.

The Wild Tactic: Forget tech towns and tech cities. New York City is building a “Tech Island.”

“We can’t be second at anything; we’re New York,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at IBM's THINK Forum last year, mentioning with pride that New York beat Boston to become the second largest recipient of venture capital funding for tech startups, behind Silicon Valley.

The city still needs more talented minds, though, and so it decided to mold them itself -- on a brand new 2-million-square-foot science and engineering campus that dwarfs the Tyrell Corporation.

The mayor is investing $100 million of city funds toward the university, which will sit on Roosevelt Island, between Manhattan and Queens. Cornell has chipped in $350 million from an anonymous donor -- one of the largest gifts in the history of American education. Bloomberg’s goals are modest: for New York to become “the global leader in technological innovation.”

The Pitch: “New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of, there’s nothing you can’t do.” - Alicia Keys.

The Problem: In March, the average month's rent in Manhattan was $3,418

See homes for sale and for rent in New York.

The Wild Tactic: The Bay Area's Silicon Valley remains the uncontested mecca for American techies. But the region's voracious appetite for talent extends beyond our nation's borders. It's hard to recruit the best and brightest from around the world, however, when there are these annoying visa things you need to let them live here legally.

If they can't live on U.S. soil, thought businessman Dario Mutabdzija, why not park them in international waters off San Francisco? His ocean-going tech-incubator, Blueseed, which is still in the planning stages, would house as many as 1,000 entrepreneurs from across the globe -- 12 miles off the California coast. They would live, work  and play on a repurposed cruise ship, which would be outfitted with restaurants, recreational facilities, and office space. A daily ferry service would bring foreign workers to the mainland for meetings and conferences, and bring investors, potential partners and employees to the boat.

The Pitch: Are you a foreign entrepreneur who wants access to Silicon Valley, but can't get a visa? Do you enjoy the fresh scent of sea air in the morning?

The Problem: Living on a ship anchored in the middle of the ocean is a little bit post-apocalyptic.

See homes for sale and for rent in San Francisco.


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Shares of Ford slumped narrowly in recent trade to $16.98. They are up 30% year-to-date.

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