As if it hasn’t been hard enough recruiting work forces over the past couple of years, with booming sales and low unemployment, before the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, as business slowly creeps back to normal, automotive companies face a new challenge: Amazon.

The online marketplace plans to recruit 100,000 hourly U.S. and Canadian workers at a starting wage of $15. That is about 20 percent more than auto parts plants typically pay to start.


It’s making auto-sector expansion a bit tougher than normal.

“Not just Amazon, but all of the employers who have done well through the pandemic while the auto industry was stalled,” said Dietmar Ostermann, U.S. automotive advisory leader for PwC, “like Home Depot, food companies, grocery chains and medical-sector companies.”

Automotive manufacturers are increasingly competing for hourly labor with these major corporations and large gig economy employers — just one of many factors in the auto industry’s struggle to expand production.

To compete with other business segments, automotive employers are getting creative and reevaluating how they procure talent. That includes dispensing with some of the traditional hiring contingencies, such as drug testing and background screening, says Keilon Ratliff, vice president and automotive lead at Kelly Professional & Industrial.

“You now have different sectors all looking for the same talent, and people are amending some of the qualifications that they have on the front end,” he said. “Companies have had to adjust those processes in order to compete.”


Auto manufacturers have been dealing with some of the lowest unemployment rates in the U.S. since World War II. Trying to recruit workers in a market in which there is little available labor has been difficult.

This year, even though thousands of American workers were laid off and coping with a recession, the task of recruiting factory workers has
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