Motor sector vacancies rate hits 21-year high

Purley Automotive News - January 2024

Motor sector vacancies rate hits 21-year high

The motor sector is facing a raft of challenges in employment including the highest vacancy rate in 21 years.

A new report from the Institute of the Motor Industry said the situation was made worse by an aging workforce, more retirements, salary dissatisfaction and post-COVID job-hopping.

The Driving Auto Forwards report puts the spotlight on short-term drivers for skills change in automotive.

It said the increasing demand for electric vehicles and adoption of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems requires specific training, but the gap between the number of qualified technicians and those required continues to grow.

It also highlighted the lack of diversity in the workforce with low representation of women and non-white British employees in UK automotive retail.

And it pointed to the increasing emphasis on customer service and soft skills in retail. Customers, it said, increasingly expect personalised and seamless interactions, excellent service and access to digital solutions. Meeting that need requires specific skills and technology.

The move to an agency model for retail car sales, it said, will impact the jobs, roles and skills required in the sector prompting a growing need for flexibility and the ability to work collaboratively with external agencies.

And expanding online sales and digital marketing  will fuel demand for digital sales and online marketing skills as well as knowledge of customer relationship management (CRM) tools.

“The automotive sector is undergoing significant change, and our workforce, processes and technology must adapt to meet new and ever-changing needs”, added Steve Nash.

“Customer demand for more technologically advanced vehicles and seamless digital experiences, as well as more sustainable and environmentally responsible materials and practices has brought about an urgent need for new skills within the automotive workforce. To meet this need, businesses must invest in upskilling their employees, offering access to training programmes that address the specific needs arising from the shifting vehicle ownership patterns and fostering a culture of ongoing learning.

“Upskilling and expanding the scope of existing roles will help the motor industry serve customers as the landscape continues to shift and evolve, helping it to remain successful, profitable and a positive contributor to the UK economy in 2024 and beyond.”

Key drivers

Green initiatives and sustainability – increasing adoption of eco-friendly practices as well as the growing electric vehicle parc requires a shift in focus to lightweight materials, sustainable manufacturing, remanufacturing, recycling, research and development, sustainable supply chain management, and public awareness and education.

Data analytics and Telematics – increasing integration of technology in vehicles require professionals with the skills to interpret and analyse vehicle performance data, leading to an increase in demand for data-related skills.

Article courtesy of published 8th January 2024