DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. said it will hire 3,000 salaried workers this year -- 800 more than previously announced.
Ford said 80 percent of the new employees will be technical professionals with "new skills." The company expects 85 to 90 percent of those hires will be placed within the state of Michigan.
Ford said it also plans to increase hourly employment by 12,000 by 2015.
"Engineers and technical professionals are in as much demand as our cars, trucks and SUVs," Felicia Fields, Ford's group vice president for human resources, said in a statement. "Global demand and increasing capacity in North America and Asia requires that we aggressively seek out technical professionals in order to continue our growth."
The vast majority of the technical hires will be engineers in purchasing, manufacturing and product development. About 200-300 will be hired in IT-related fields.
Fields said some of the hires are attrition replacement, but more than two-thirds of the hires will be new jobs. As a result of the recession, Ford reduced its workforce by 13,000 salaried employees between 2006 and 2009, she said.
“There are some people that we did lose during that downturn that have skills and capabilities that we absolutely welcome back into Ford, and some of those employees have returned to Ford,” Fields said, adding that there are still many “new,” advanced skills that require fresh talent.
The hiring boom is directly correlated to positive sales performance, Fields said. Ford’s U.S. sales rose 13 percent last month and for the year to date, representing its best June performance since 2006.
Fields said Ford will launch a social media campaign to attract the new employees. She said that Ford has increasingly been using LinkedIn and Facebook for job postings.
“With our proactive outreach to job candidates, our message to them is really simple: Bring your talents to Ford, and help us bring an even better future,” Fields said.
In contrast to previous recruitment campaigns, the social media exposure will highlight the attractions and benefits the state of Michigan has to offer. Fields hopes that the company’s outreach will offset negative press that the state has received following the recent bankruptcy filing by the city of Detroit.
Discussing the availability of technical professionals, Fields acknowledged that there is significant competition across the wide variety of industries that recruit engineering and IT experts.
“It really is about matching the specific skills and competencies we need in the company, and they’re not always a perfect match,” Fields said.
Graydon Reitz, Ford’s global director of electrical and electronic systems engineering, said the automaker has had some success in recruiting beyond the traditional OEM and supplier employment base, instead recruiting from telecommunication firms, Silicon Valley, and consumer electronic companies.
“What we’re finding is that some of these people that have good consumer electronics experience, they want to broaden that, and they want to bring that capability into the vehicle,” Reitz said.
Ford is expanding as U.S. new-vehicle sales have increased for 25 consecutive months, according to Bloomberg Industries. The second-largest U.S. automaker by vehicle sales has been the biggest gainer of market share in 2013's first half on strong demand for the Fusion family car and F-Series pickups.
CEO Alan Mulally has led Ford to 16 consecutive quarters of net income after supervising a restructuring without the bankruptcies that befell the predecessors of General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC. Mulally, 67, has boosted profits by selling the same models worldwide, rather than different versions for various regions.
Adam Rubenfire, Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report.