The War for Talent: How PR Can Help Automotive Suppliers Win It

automotive supplier influencersAsk an HR professional about their greatest need these days, and the answer you will get is: Software Developer.

The auto industry currently has thousands of openings for automotive software developers and engineers. And the situation is getting worse.

According to research from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Detroit Mobility Lab (DML), self-driving and electric cars will help create more than 100,000 new U.S. mobility industry jobs in the coming decade, including up to 30,000 jobs for engineers with degrees in computer-related subjects.

The bad news: that demand could be as much as six times the expected number of graduates in those fields, exacerbating the industry’s already significant talent shortage.

What’s a Supplier to Do?
Facing such intense competition for these skilled employees from automakers – who can afford to pay more – and new mobility start-ups – who offer a more exciting non-traditional culture, established automotive suppliers desperately need to position their companies as employers of choice. But how?

Human resource professionals at these suppliers are finding that working with PR professionals to incorporate recruitment and retention messages into the corporate communications program can be a cost-effective way to market their organization to prospective employees … especially when recruiting firms can currently charge as much as $10,000 per top recruit.

Here are several ways to combine the best of PR with the best of HR, to help auto suppliers attract, engage and retain talent in a cost effective, credible manner:

• Consistently communicating your company’s unique culture, programs and atmosphere via media relations efforts with key local, trade and professional media that your prospects are reading or following.
• Amplifying and extending positive media coverage about your company and its culture with employees, prospects and the community via social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. and employer review sites like Glassdoor.
• Publicizing your company’s special skills, professional development and technical training programs, and publicly recognizing your employees via traditional publicity and social media sharing. This can underscore your investment in, and commitment to, your employees, help them gain a competitive edge, and help differentiate your company from competitors.
• Publicizing special family-friendly or novel employee benefits – from flextime to work-at-home and from special events to dogs in the office and college-loan-payoff programs, and more … that demonstrate your company appreciates employees’ quality of life.
• Participating in “Best Places to Work” rankings that provide third-party recognition, validation and enhanced awareness, especially when shared via media coverage in traditional media as well as various social media channels.

Other ways PR can help HR win in the talent war include:
• Leveraging your employees’ networks by encouraging them to become “ambassadors” – making it easy for them to share your company’s content on their own personal social media channels to reach their families, friends and associates. After all, most jobs are best filled by “someone who knows someone,” not by outside recruiters, listings or ads.
• Developing video profiles that demonstrate your company’s culture, for example “A Day in the Life” of an employee, for use on your website, as well as on YouTube and social media channels. Let your employees be the “stars” and tell others what they love about their workplace.
• Sponsoring, exhibiting and presenting at key industry events, as well as publicizing the participation, can lead to overall company recognition among prospects.
• Creating and publicizing educational partnerships and student competitions to start engaging with top engineering students long before they graduate, as graduates are more likely to join companies they feel they know.
• Finally, publicizing your company’s corporate giving and volunteer efforts. People, especially millennials, prefer to work for companies that they can feel good about – companies that give back to the community and are striving to make the world a better place.

To explore how PR can help you overcome your recruiting challenges, contact Jim Bianchi at or call 248.269.1122.

You might also be interested in:

5 Reasons Your Tech Company May Need an Automotive PR Firm

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