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