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SAE employment study proves mobility sector is experiencing a recovery

This new study, conducted by Hardin Business Communications for SAE International, is the first forward-looking study of its kind for the industry.


According to SAE (Ref: mags/AEI/9951 ), the recently released “Engineer Employment Study for Mobility Industries, 2011-2016” offers encouraging news for mobility-industry professionals. Fact is, all respondents plan to hire engineers and related positions during the next five years, and most companies expecting to hire in 2011 and 2012.

That coincides with recent stock price action of General Motors (NYSE: GM); Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F); Toyota Motors (ADR: TM); even Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) and others.

As a point of reference, data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts only small growth in the overall headcount in the aerospace and commercial vehicle industries. And in the case of the Motor Vehicle Manufacturing and Parts Manufacturing industries, a slight reduction in the number of engineers in the field is forecast.

Of the automotive OEMs surveyed in the SAE study, all but one intend to hire at least 100 to 500 new engineers for their North American operations, with several expecting to hire between 500 and 1000 new engineers.

This also coincides with what I heard first hand at the Detroit 2.011 Autobeat Insider Conference two weeks ago at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham, Michigan. See my report from that event: Detroit 2.011 Autobeat Insider Conference addresses auto industry's new best practices

With automakers reporting dramatically improved sales and the aerospace and commercial vehicle industries also looking up, more employers are looking to hire engineers.

The report at noted that least 90% of the new positions are expected to be full-time, and the majority of these positions will be on a technical career path.

That explain why mechanical engineers are in the highest demand across all industries. Automotive companies also indicated an interest in electrical/electronic engineers, industrial engineers, manufacturing engineers, and material engineers. This is more than a casual interest, most likely due to the increase in electric vehicles made of lighter, tougher materials.

Not too surprising, young engineers and new graduates are noted to have better luck applying to the automotive industry. For example, the study says in automotive, 60% of companies are planning to hire engineers with 3-5 years of experience, 30% are looking for 1-3 years of experience, and 10% are accepting new graduates just entering the workforce.

Too bad the industry threw away so much experience during the crisis, though. There’s still a ton of untapped automotive design experience out there; but many have resigned to doing other thing in life.

Full Disclosure: At time of publication, Sherosky, creator of the auto sector charts for TN, is neither long or short with the mentioned stocks for futures, though positions can change at any time. None of the information in this article constitutes a recommendation, but an assessment or opinion.

About the Reporter: After 39 years in the auto industry as a design engineer, Frank Sherosky now trades stocks, futures and writes articles, books and ebooks like, "Perfecting Corporate Character," "Awaken Your Speculator Mind", and "Millennial World Order" via He may be contacted here by email: [email protected]

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