Survey: Automotive sector drained by lack of new blood

Posted on 24 Jul 2012

A new survey conducted on 390 automotive professionals by JAM Recruitment has shown an ageing demographic, and concern over the sector's widening skills gap.

The three main findings from the survey were:

  1. 43% seeing increased workloads.
  2. 62% have 10 years’ experience or more.
  3. 26% say the lack of young people entering the industry is the sector’s biggest future threat.

The fact that 62% of respondents had worked in the automotive sector for over 10 years is directly related to the thoughts of the 26% of respondents, arguing that the lack of young people with the required skills beginning careers in the sector is the sector’s biggest threat.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the majority of respondents (70%) blame the Government, citing a “lack of action to address the future skills shortage.”

Of the 390 respondents, 140 were SMEs located in the supply chains of the larger automotive companies. 37% of these respondents said their greatest need was help to train apprentices and graduates. The remaining 250 respondents from larger companies believed that the greatest risk was of becoming “de-skilled” by specialising on a single part of the production process.

However, the survey found that a large portion of the participants in the survey were upbeat about the future of the automotive sector. The sector’s continuing growth and recent news that the UK automotive industry will see £4bn in new investments over the next 18 months led 69% of respondents to say they felt optimistic about the future.

The UK automotive sector remains strong on a global scale too – 59% said their company hadn’t lost business to overseas competitors within the past year.

Alex Taylor from JAM Recruitment said: “It’s telling that the [automotive] sector’s SMEs don’t want hand-outs or tax breaks but support to hire and train apprentices.”

“The sector is a real success story of British industry and the Government should heed the warnings given here and lend greater support to its future development.”

The study questioned more than 390 operatives from the automotive sector during May this year.