Lear Corp. and Magna International Inc.'s joint venture LM Manufacturing are competing for employees in a tight labor market as production launches near for their new plants in Detroit.
Southfield. Mich.-based Lear is finishing the build out of its roughly 450,000-square-foot, just-in-time seating plant for General Motors Co. at the former site of the Cadillac Stamping Plant on Detroit's east side. The development, which totals 684,000 square feet, is expected to create 450 jobs.
Lear said it would hire "hundreds" but has not specified an exact number. Recruiting efforts are underway, said Dana Williams, chief strategy officer with Detroit at Work, which is helping the supplier with hiring.
NorthPoint Development LLC completed construction on the development in July, at which point Lear began installing machinery and office space, according to the company. Production is expected to start as soon as next month or November, Williams said.
Similar efforts are happening on the other side of the city for LM Manufacturing's seating plant for Ford Motor Co. trucks and SUVs. That plant is expected to yield 390 jobs, with production beginning in the second quarter of 2023, according to the company.
"We've held multiple career fairs for them, and they've participated in a lot of our neighborhood efforts for recruiting," Williams said.
Labor continues to be a pain point for many manufacturers, which have hiked up wages, sweetened benefits and reworked shifts to compete not only with each other but with Amazon Inc., retailers and fast-food restaurants.
"Although today's labor market is highly competitive, the pool of skilled workers in Detroit and Southeast Michigan is large enough to meet our needs," Lear said in a statement to Crain's Detroit Business, a sister publication of Plastics News. "We continue to find success in attracting and retaining workers at a variety of the manufacturing plants we operate throughout the region."
Employees at both the Lear and LM plants are expected to be union represented. Lear's starting wage is $16.50, while LM is offering $16.50 to $17.50 to start, Williams said. Those numbers change depending on the competition.
"We're just finding that employers are just becoming much more savvy in keeping an eye on what competitive wages are," Williams said. "I certainly can say, when they know their competitors are paying more, they have gone to their internal administration and raised those wages wherever possible. They're certainly raising wages across the board."
Williams said besides bumping up wages, companies are still being creative with perks to bring candidates to the table.
"They are being creative in terms of scheduling, offering shift premiums or flexible scheduling, and things like that," she said. "They're also taking a look at their benefits packages and making sure those are also competitive."