The Shortage of Engineers in Automotive Quality and What It Means to You: Part 1

If you could see what I see every day in the automotive quality field, you would be shocked.

The amount of openings for automotive quality professionals lists in the hundreds. And, I am not just talking quality technicians and lower level folks. I am talking about engineers, supplier quality engineers, quality managers, supplier quality managers…the list goes on.

And it all makes sense. When you look at the aftermath of the economic tsunami in 2008-2010, and the effect it had by not only flushing out deadwood and underachievers, it also took many talented people into defense, medical  and even government work. I am starting to see some of the real crazy people who truly love automotive quality come back, especially from government work as you might well imagine.

There remains a large shortage of top candidates in the automotive quality market. Are there always many people looking? Sure. Quality people in automotive tend to move around quite a bit, as we all know. Still, there are just too few people to fill the void. Here is a case in point.

From the 1990s right up until 2008, there was huge number of job descriptions for Quality Engineers that sounded like a broken record. Here is what a hiring manager would say, “Jon, find me an aggressive go-getter, degreed with 5 years of experience.” Over and over and over again I heard this. When I hear this now in contrast to the past, my response is, “Let’s do some math real quick, I want you to count down in your mind back 5 years. What year was that? Now, you name for me one company in the automotive industry who was hiring new college graduates in 2008?”

Another aspect to this story which people do not realize is that there are many foreign born engineers in the automotive industry. Since 9/11, the changes in immigration laws has made it much more difficult for qualified foreigners to make it into the United States.  Regardless of your opinion of the immigration debate, there are simply not enough engineers period to make up the difference.

So, how are companies are finding them? Are these candidates on the internet? The answer is yes and no. Some companies are in the right place at the right time and get a real gem answering their job posting. Also, networking and personal referrals are alive and well as always. For the most part, our clients are coming to us more and more because running ads only provides them with job hoppers and people who are not qualified for the job. Here at AQS, we have a huge web presence with a constantly updated blog, news and a job site that candidates can come to for one stop shopping. We are still filling a majority of our positions through either networking with existing contacts or cold calling quality professionals sitting at their desks with an open mind and a bent ear. If you are one of the many hiring managers experiencing difficulty finding top talent in automotive quality, sign up for a FREE consultation!

Companies are surprisingly sticking to their guns and not hiring just anybody. This is not, and has never been like stories you hear in the IT world where companies hire anyone with a heartbeat. Hiring managers have not loosened up their parameters nor will they settle for anything less than what they want. We all know too well the cost of a poor hiring decision (Find out how to avoid a hiring mistake by clicking here!).This adds to the growing number of openings from coast to coast in our beloved little niche of automotive quality.

This is definitely straining the hiring attitudes and pay ranges companies have out there. In the next article, I will answer the question “What does this mean for your pocket? ¬†$$Chaa ching$$.

If you are keeping your ears open to stronger opportunities, we would like to partner with you to make your life better and your wallet fatter! Apply with us today!