While anticipated baby-boomer retirements and increased productivity by both U.S.-based automakers and international competitors will lead to job openings over the next eight years, the new workforce will be substantially smaller than previous generations, according to the Center for Automotive Research's (CAR) recent report, "Beyond the Big Leave: The Future of U.S. Automotive Human Resources."
More than 115,000 workers are expected to leave the Detroit Three in the United States during the 2008-2016 forecast period, 54.2% of whom will be in Michigan. Between 2008 and 2011, CAR projects that Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC will hire 56,673 new workers, and an additional 20,536 salaried workers by 2016.
The newer but shrunken workforce will come along with different job skills, pay and training, according to interview responses from domestic and international automakers and suppliers. "This massive replacement of auto labor represents an opportunity for many in Michigan and other Midwest states," the report's authors conclude. "Yet the old jobs will, indeed, not come back. Instead, they will be replaced by different jobs involving different tasks and requiring different qualifications and experience. It is vitally important, then, that Michigan and other traditional automotive regions be fully informed as to the scale and timing of this replacement hiring and the specific criteria that will be used to select the new autoworkers of the 21st Century."
Auto Workers: By The Numbers
Current and forecasted employment by the Detroit Big Three automakers.
241,189 Workers employed in 2007 by the Detroit Big Three
210,542 Workers projected to be employed in 2011
203,219 Workers projected to be employed in 2016
126,800 Production workers employed in 2007
114,619 Production workers projected to be employed in 2016
24,707 Engineering workers employed in 2007
|Hiring Forecast for Detroit Three|
|U.S. New Hires||Through 2011||Through 2016|
|Total New Hires*||56,673||77,209|
|*Sums don't include the number of workers transferred from production to skilled trades.|
†Transfer from production
Source: Center for Automotive Research