Magazine article Workforce Management

Ford, GM Cuts May Fuel Hiring at Competitors

Magazine article Workforce Management

Ford, GM Cuts May Fuel Hiring at Competitors

Article excerpt

AUTO INDUSTRY

The tens of thousands of layoffs announced recently at America's big automakers could free up important talent for foreign auto firms revving up in the United States.

"It's bad news for them, but it's good news for us," says Kathy Parker, vice president of administrative services at Hyundai Motor America. South Korea-based Hyundai has fewer than 5,000 employees in the U.S. but is hiring in such fields as manufacturing, research and sales. Hyundai already has recruited some executives from the traditional Detroit automakers, Parker says.

"The layoffs, I'm hoping, will provide additional opportunities for us," she says.

White-collar workers, automotive engineers and production line workers released by General Motors and Ford Motor Co. could be in demand at companies like Toyota, according to industry experts. On the other hand, obstacles ranging from unionization concerns to cultural clashes could slow the shift of workers from America's old guard to the growing, foreign-based automakers, says Arthur Wheaton, a workplace and industry education specialist at Cornell University.

Wheaton also cautions that although the job cuts could total more than 60,000, the ultimate pool of workers available to other employers will be far smaller, thanks partly to severance packages. "Probably half will take early retirements," he says. In November, GM said it would ax 30,000 manufacturing jobs in the U.S. and Canada through 2008. In January, Ford said it would eliminate 25,000 to 30,000 jobs in North America by 2012 as it trims manufacturing capacity. …

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