Toyota will hire more than 1,000 people for jobs at its new North American headquarters in West Plano and has already posted about 350 jobs on its website, CEO Jim Lentz said Thursday.
Most of the jobs are in finance, quality engineering, information systems, and sales and marketing, Lentz said at a press conference at the site of the headquarters, which is more than half complete.
“We are ramping up hiring,” he said.
The number of available jobs tracks closely to what Lentz had anticipated months ago.
About 4,000 Toyota employees in California, Kentucky and New York have been asked to make the move to Plano, where Toyota is constructing its seven-building headquarters on 100 acres near the Dallas North Tollway and Legacy Drive.
Based on early returns from the employees, Lentz had predicted that about 70 percent of Toyota’s employees — an unusually high number for a major cross-country relocation — would accept the offer to move.
The jobs now available will be posted on www.toyota.com/careers and on Linked-in and Glassdoor using @ToyotaNorthAmerica.
Toyota declined to specify salaries for the open jobs, saying only that wages and salaries would be “competitive.”
“To meet our needs, we are ready to start hiring,” Lentz said.
Although Toyota would not confirm the number, dealers say they have heard that more than 10,000 people have already applied for jobs at Toyota.
Lentz declined to say how the transplant employees will affect salaries offered in Plano. The California employees, for example, are paid wages and salaries based on the cost of living in southern California, which is much higher than in North Texas.
“No one is getting a pay cut,” Lentz said. “But those differences will be worked out over time.”
He said he was “very happy” with the number of Toyota employees who will make the move.
“For us, it’s a great number,” Lentz said.
Toyota has already hired about 400 people, he said, about half of whom were employees looking for a different position within the company.
Though the jobs vary as to educational requirements, Lentz said most seek applicants with college degrees.
The campus may also attract suppliers and contractors who will bring additional jobs to the site.
“Since we’re not moving in until mid-2017, a lot of them are still formulating their plans,” Lentz said. “We will probably have a better idea of how many by March or April 2017.”
A generous relocation package was one reason for the large number of employees agreeing to make the move, Lentz acknowledged.
As part of the package, employees will be paid an undisclosed bonus — rumored to be as much as $80,000. In addition, Toyota will pay for visits to the area to check out neighborhoods and schools and for moving costs and expenses related to home purchases.
But Lentz said the Dallas area was also a factor, often proving to be more attractive than many had anticipated.
“People kind of underestimated just how good a place this is,” he said.
All seven buildings on the campus are completed on the outside — with glass and roofs, and the project is on schedule to be finished by mid 2017.
More than two years ago, when Toyota announced that it was moving here, the company said it would spend about $350 million on its new campus. Though the company has acknowledged that the amount has grown since then, it no longer specifies a cost for the project, saying only that the campus and relocation expenses will be a total of $1 billion.
The two front buildings in the complex — those that face Headquarters Drive — should open in May 2017, Doug Beebe, general manager of real estate and facilities at Toyota, said during a bus tour of the campus.
All of the buildings have been constructed using tan Texas limestone and green-colored glass, aiming to convey a native look and bring as much natural light into the buildings as possible.
“The glass also was designed to accommodate the wide range of temperatures in North Texas,” Beebe said.
Most of the buildings are four or five stories tall and tend to bend and sprawl gracefully over a campus that will be landscaped with more than 1,300 trees, as well as native vegetation.
A small, heavily wooded creek on the back side of the property will be maintained as a sustainability area.
In addition, the site will have a system for capturing and recycling water.