The automotive industry is currently riding a tidal wave of tech innovation, but how is this affecting jobs in the sector today and in the future?
It all began with a solution to a simple problem. Getting from one place to another faster and more efficiently than a horse and cart. Henry Ford may not have invented the automobile or the assembly line, but what he did was convert something from an expensive curiosity into a practical vehicle that would have a profound impact on the 20th century.
By 1925, one of Fords Detroit-based factories was producing more than 9,000 Model T’s a day and unsurprisingly, consisted of a mainly blue-collar manufacturing workers. This labour-intensive workforce formed the backbone of modern-day automotive production.
Nearly a century later and the lines between the physical and automated side of the motor industry are becoming more and more blurred. This is something we’re not just seeing in the motor trade, but also in the Engineering and Food Manufacturing sectors where new technologies and automation are replacing the more traditional production lines and their associated jobs.
In the next 10 years, it’s forecast that the automotive industry will see more change than in the previous hundred.
The move towards autonomous, connected and electric (ACE) vehicles including self-driving and electrically-powered cars is already having a profound impact on recruitment in the automotive industry.
The diversity of roles now on offer is staggering and looks to grow even more in the future. There is huge potential for existing employees to learn new skills and move into new roles, so the prospects are limitless.
The government’s new National Re-training Scheme helps adults retrain into better jobs, including those brought about by automation. They are also investing £406m in maths, digital and technical education to help address the shortage of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills.
As automation continues to disrupt recruitment in the automotive industry, new talent and skills will be essential to keep the wheels in motion. The increased appetite for innovative technologies means that organisations need to create collaborative learning environments with continuous training and development. Re-training will generate opportunities for existing staff to learn or further develop their skills and remain within the automotive industry.
That being said, until robots can innovate and design on their own, or fix themselves when they go wrong, there will always be a place for highly-skilled engineers and technicians within the automotive industry.