Job seekers flock to SAE Career Fair

  • 23-Oct-2008 02:24 EDT
Career 2008.jpg
Earl Emrick with Volt Technical Resources makes the final preparations on a computer before posting some openings that the company has.

The widespread downsizing that continues to plague the automotive industry means lots of out-of-work technical specialists, and that’s a good thing for recruiters.

"I’m seeing more qualified candidates here than I would find at a general career fair, and that’s probably because this career fair is associated with SAE,” said Craig Pyke, a recruiter for Brose, during the SAE Career Fair at the recent Convergence 2008 show in Detroit. The automotive supplier has 400 positions to fill worldwide with 60 of those openings—including engineering jobs—in North America.

The show floor's career fair zone buzzed with briefcase-carrying job seekers shortly after its noon opening on Monday, Oct. 20. Job hunters were passing out resumes to the career fair’s exhibitors and were scanning racks stuffed with job leads. “The racks have more than 100 postings of open positions,” said Tracy Fedkoe with SAE International’s Career Services.

Shawn Bagos carpooled to downtown Detroit just to network and check out job opportunities at the career fair. He lost his job with Ford Motor Co. on July 1. “I was released in the last wave of cost reductions,” said Bagos, who received a severance package.

The mechanical engineer, who has project management experience, was awaiting an in-person interview when a company representative notified him that hiring for the project was being delayed because of “economic uncertainties.” “The project wasn’t canned but put on-hold so that leaves me a reasonable amount of hope,” Bagos said.

Bagos would prefer to stay in Michigan as he “just purchased a home prior to my release.” Engineers who want jobs in Michigan are no surprise to recruiters. Job recruiter Lynette Yancy feels a main reason the Booz Allen Hamilton positions available for systems and vehicle engineers are still vacant after more than three months is because the jobs are not located in Detroit.

“We’ve been looking to fill these positions for a while. And for a management consultant firm, the longer an engineering position goes unfilled, that’s revenue that isn’t being generated for the company,” said Yancy.

Jennifer Muns is ready to re-generate some income. The 23-year-old mechanical engineer spent two years working in a student co-op position and continued that job for another year and a half in the same position as a contract worker before downsizing consumed the job. “I had a feeling that automotive might not be the way to go, but living in Michigan it really is one of the most predominant industries,” Muns said.

Muns is slated for a second interview with an aerospace company in Ann Arbor, MI, and she might have an opportunity with an automotive-supplier company in Chicago. “If I can get into aerospace, I’d be happy. To me, it seems more stable,” Muns said.

Mary K. Ross, Director of Recruiting Services for The Barton Group, an executive search and technology-recruiting firm, said the company has several job openings from its clients that need to be filled. “There are engineering jobs, but those jobs are tough to find in Michigan right now.”

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