LM Manufacturing in competition to recruit employees in a tight labor market

Lear Corp. and Magna International Inc.’s LM Manufacturing joint venture are competing for workers in a tight labor market as production nears for their new Detroit plants.

Southfield-based Lear is completing construction of its approximately 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 he would hire “hundreds” but did not specify an exact number. Recruitment efforts are underway, said Dana Williams, director of strategy at Detroit at Work, which helps the supplier hire.

NorthPoint Development LLC completed construction of the development in July, when Lear began installing machinery and office space, according to the company. Production is expected to begin as early as next month or November, Williams said.

Similar efforts are being made across town for LM Manufacturing’s seating plant for Ford Motor Co.’s trucks and SUVs. That plant is expected to create 390 jobs, with production beginning in the second quarter of 2023, according to the society.

“We’ve held several job fairs for them, and they’ve been involved in a lot of recruiting efforts in our neighborhood,” Williams said.

Labor continues to be a problem for many manufacturers, who have increased wages, increased benefits and reworked shifts to compete not only with each other, but also with Amazon Inc., retailers and fast food restaurants.

“While today’s labor market is very 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. “We continue to be successful in attracting and retaining workers at various manufacturing plants we operate throughout the region.”

Employees at the Lear and LM plants are expected to be represented by the union. Lear’s starting salary is $16.50, while LM offers $16.50 to $17.50 to start, Williams said. These numbers change depending on the competition.

“We’re just seeing that employers are becoming more savvy about keeping tabs on what the competitive salaries are,” Williams said. “I can definitely say that when they know their competitors are paying more, they have gone to their internal administration and raised those salaries wherever possible. They are certainly raising salaries across the board.”

Williams said that in addition to raising salaries, companies are always getting creative with perks to bring candidates to the table.

“They get creative in terms of schedules, offering shift premiums or flexible hours, and things like that,” she said. “They’re also looking at their benefits and making sure they’re competitive as well.”

Marjorie N. McClure