Jaguar Land Rover announced this morning that it is creating over 1,000 new jobs at its plant in Solihull.
Nearly 5,000 people currently work at the plant in Solihull, the new jobs representing an increase of the workforce by 20%. Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) said in a statement that the recruitment campaign is now underway, and it is advertising for production operators and skilled trades people.
A spokesperson for JLR spoke to The Manufacturer this morning and said that the new positions will aid the company in fulfilling their aim of delivering “40 significant product actions over the next five years.”
It has been indicated that these could include new models, or derivatives of existing cars. The spokesperson commented that it would also include developments to models, derivates and engines.
JLR told reporter Tom Moore that it is happy with the support they have received from the government – the company was recently given a £10m grant by the Government.
Grants such as this are helping to create a good climate for manufacturing in the UK. The spokesperson commented: “From our perspective [the Government] have been very helpful.”
The announcement comes after JLR released plans in April for 1,000 engineering jobs in the West Midlands. This came after the company revealed record sales in the UK, India and China.
Des Thurlby, human resources director for JLR said: “This is great news for Solihull. We shall be increasing the plant workforce by more than 25%. We have a loyal and committed workforce at Solihull. These jobs are well paid with great benefits.”
She went on to say: “We provide high-quality training and development for all our employees and we expect to receive many thousands of applications.”
Following the announcement, Ali Al-Saffar, chief automotive analyst at The Economist Intelligence Unit, said: “This will be welcome news to the UK’s auto sector, which has become accustomed, in recent years, to seeing jobs being lost, rather than created, as carmakers have generally shifted their operations to Eastern Europe and Asia.”
“The move does, however, once again raise the issue of over-capacity in Europe’s automotive industry; which has a total of 297 factories in 28 countries, and which runs at a capacity utilization rate of just over 65%. This will inevitably have to be addressed at some point in the near future, particularly with profit-margins being so thin.”
Delegates at yesterday’s Manufacturers Directors Conference (MDC) 2011 confided in The Manufacturer that they have fears over JLR’s recruitment policy.
There have been concerns about the lack of skills in the area even before this announcement. It seems as though there is an ever growing demand in the manufacturing industry for skilled staff, yet the size of the talent pool has remained the same.
Delegates at the MDC were quick to point out that the lure of working for a big name company such as JLR meant that tier one manufacturers could lose out on skilled workers.
Another worry for manufacturing companies in the West Midlands is that JLR’s aggressive recruitment drive will not only make it a bigger attraction to potential employees, but also to employees working for other manufacturing companies in the West Midlands.
If these fears materialize then companies could lose staff after investing both time and money in training them.