General Motors plans to hire about 1,000 new information technology employees at a new software innovation center in Phoenix.
The operation completes the company's selection of four U.S. communities for new software centers to accelerate the "insourcing" of its corporate IT work. The other software centers are located at GM's Technical Center in Warren, Austin, Texas, and Roswell, Ga.
The fourth software center will be located in Chandler, Ariz. GM is hiring about 4,000 new workers at all four operations over 3-5 years as part of Chief Information Officer Randy Mott's bid to overhaul the company's outdated technical infrastructure.
"These are IT talent-rich areas on the cutting edge of innovation, great communities with a lower cost of living and, of course, the recruiting potential because of professionals and recent college graduates," Mott said.
GM plans to lease space in a temporary facility while a developer builds a $21-million complex in Chandler. The automaker will lease the facility when the project is finished in the first quarter of 2014.
Not lost on IT industry observers: GM snubbed Silicon Valley in its selection process. Mott said the high cost of living in Silicon Valley was a deterrent.
"We're looking at the quality of life for individuals," he said. "We think this is a better balance, quite frankly, for our team in terms of where they're able to live. The reality is most people from Silicon Valley didn't come from there. There's not a lock on innovation there. It just happens to be a collection point."
The four software centers will develop new software, reduce overlapping applications and improve data-crunching capabilities for GM's engineers, designers and administrators in an effort to speed up product development.
Mott wants GM to conduct 90% of its own IT work. Before he arrived a year ago, GM was outsourcing about 90% of its IT work.
The company has already hired about 1,500 workers for its new software centers and is close to completing the transfer of 3,000 Hewlett-Packard employees to its payroll. Many of the HP workers were already conducting work for GM on a contractual basis.
Overall, the company expects to hire about 9,000 workers as part of its IT changes.
For each of its four software centers, GM identified about 10 nearby universities as recruiting hubs. Mott said he wants about 30% to 35% of the centers' personnel to be recent college grads with the rest being established professionals.
He said he likes the "energy that you get from recent college grads" mixed with "the right level of professional expertise" from experienced workers.
"That's what we're going for," he said. "We want a healthy mix."
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