General Motors has been on a hiring spree for the past 24 months as the auto-talent war begins to heat up. GM’s rival Ford announced it will purchase the long-abandoned train station in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, which gives the automaker a chance to steal some of GM’s latest talent.
According to a report from the Detroit Free Press, GM has brought on 9,000 new employees in the past 24 months and the automaker has done very well in attracting younger talent—employees that could very well head to Silicon Valley companies.
Michael Arena, GM’s chief talent officer, told the publication that applicants flooded the automaker after GM announced plans for 20 new electric cars by 2023.
“People were showing up at the gates of our social sites and tapping into storyboards. They started to inquire about jobs,” he said. “Whenever Mark (Reuss) or (CEO) Mary Barra get out there and talk about what GM wants to do in the world, my job becomes 10 times easier.”
Now, the challenge will be for GM to keep those employees as Ford moves closer to GM’s operations. The automaker has spent millions to renovate workspaces to provide a chic and hip image, and also open up spaces to create a “one team” environment—a personal ethos of Barra.
But, ultimately, Arena said employees choose GM because of the product and services coming out of the automaker. A lot of new employees like the idea of putting their work into a car, rather than just a piece of software.
“The reason people chose us over other companies is because of the products and services we provide,” said Arena. “So we have to keep providing that.”