Joblift reveals that the UK automotive sector is remaining resilience despite ongoing concerns
The impact of Brexit is heavily impacting the UK automotive industry. In February, Honda announced its plans to close its Swindon car plant, while Nissan has revealed that it is looking at the possibility of reducing it operations in Sunderland, impacting UK employment figures.
Job search platform Joblift analysed all 20mn online job ads from the last two years to see what was being reflected in the recruitment world for the automotive industry. With the uncertainty of Brexit and subsequent number of job losses, the business looked to see if there was a decline in the number of jobs advertised.
Despite the vast number of future job cuts, the company has found that the UK industry has not slowed down in trying to attract talent. In the last two years, there have been 133,094 job ads posted, and an average monthly inflation of 1%. This is two times slower than the general labour market, which has had 19,504,902 job ads posted and an average monthly inflation of 3% in the last two years. Although the automotive industry is slightly behind, it is clearly undeterred by the uncertainty of Brexit.
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Cities like Bristol, Sunderland and Birmingham have been big names in the headlines for job cuts, but Bristol has the largest growth in job ads for the automotive industry with a 6% monthly average – six times more than the national average. In Sunderland there is a 4% monthly increase, followed by Dagenham (3%) and Birmingham (1%). Coventry is one of the only cities where the postings for the available positions in the sector have significantly slowed with an average 3% monthly decrease.
Additionally, its analysis found that vehicle mechanics are the most in-demand role making up 9% of the 133,094 roles advertised in the last 24 months. Other popular professions include customer service manager, ranking second with 5%; repair and maintenance technician (2.5%); and software engineer (2%). Furthermore, a surprising 7% of automotive job ads were advertised as apprenticeships, which may indicate that companies are hopeful for the future of the industry and its growth potential.
Gartner: Leaders Lack Skilled Smart Manufacturing Workers
With organisations rapidly adopting industry 4.0 capabilities to increase productivity, efficiency, transparency, and quality as well as reduce cost, manufacturers “are under pressure to bring their workforce into the 21st century,” says Gartner.
While more connected factory workers are leveraging digital tools and data management techniques to improve decision accuracy, increase knowledge and lessen variability, 57% of manufacturing leaders feel that their organisations lack the skilled workers needed to support their smart manufacturing digitalisation plans.
“Our survey revealed that manufacturers are currently going through a difficult phase in their digitisation journey toward smart manufacturing,” said Simon Jacobson, Vice President analyst, Gartner Supply Chain practice.
“They accept that changing from a break-fix mentality and culture to a data-driven workforce is a must. However, intuition, efficiency and engagement cannot be sacrificed. New workers might be tech-savvy but lack access to best practices and know-how — and tenured workers might have the knowledge, but not the digital skills. A truly connected factory worker in a smart manufacturing environment needs both.”
Surveying 439 respondents from North America, Western Europe and APAC, Gartner found that “organisational complexity, integration and process reengineering are the most prevalent challenges for executing smart manufacturing initiatives.” Combined they represent “the largest change management obstacle [for manufacturers],” adds Gartner.
“It’s interesting to see that leadership commitment is frequently cited as not being a challenge. Across all respondents, 83% agree that their leadership understands and accepts the need to invest in smart manufacturing. However, it does not reflect whether or not the majority of leaders understand the magnitude of change in front of them – regarding technology, as well as talent,” added Jacobson.
Technology and People
While the value and opportunities smart manufacturing can provide an organisation is being recognised, introducing technology alone isn’t enough. Gartner emphasises the importance of evolving factory workers alongside the technology, ensuring that they are on board in order for the change to be successful.
“The most immediate action is for organisations to realize that this is more than digitisation. It requires synchronising activities for capability building, capability enablement and empowering people. Taking a ‘how to improve a day in the life’ approach will increase engagement, continuous learning and ultimately foster a pull-based approach that will attract tenured workers. They are the best points of contact to identify the best starting points for automation and the required data and digital tools for better decision-making,” said Jacobson.
Long term, “it is important to establish a data-driven culture in manufacturing operations that is rooted in governance and training - without stifling employee creativity and ingenuity,” concluded Gartner.