Automotive sector

Automotive skills shortage pushes job openings to highest level in five years

The number of vacancies in the automotive sector increased by 40% in the first three months of 2022, reaching a five-year high.

Reflecting that the demand for skills is driving up salaries, advertised salaries for vehicle technicians are up more than 8% year-over-year.

Data from the Automotive Industry Institute (IMI) also shows an increase of more than 7% in advertised salaries across all automotive roles compared to March 2021.

IMI’s analysis of job posting data for all automotive occupations, for March 2022, shows a 51% year-over-year increase in job postings.

“Right now, the automotive retail and aftermarket sectors are facing probably the worst skills shortage in over 20 years,” said Steve Nash, CEO of IMI. “And the pressure will likely be further exacerbated by higher than normal sickness absences caused by the surge in positive COVID-19 tests.

“We therefore welcomed the opportunity to meet with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) earlier this week to discuss our concerns about the unprecedented skills shortages facing the sector. .

“Brexit exacerbated a skills gap that already existed; COVID-19 has also hit the talent pool with a huge reduction in apprenticeship training and recruitment that will likely take a few years to correct.

“We explained to BEIS our belief that adding key automotive technical roles to the government’s shortage occupations list could potentially make it much easier for employers to recruit overseas talent. We have also called for the sector to have access to government funding for green professions to help support the development of technicians to work on electric vehicles. We will continue to work with the government to ensure they understand the significant risks of the current skills shortage to the UK economy as a whole.

The latest results reflect the workforce gap seen in the heavy-duty sector, where analysis shows the number of advertised positions for heavy-duty technicians increased by 46% from January to March. Year-over-year, advertised salaries for heavy-duty technicians have increased by more than 10%.

“This is undoubtedly a difficult situation – and unfortunately not easy to resolve instantly,” added Nash. “But it underscores how essential it is for the sector to urgently rethink its recruitment strategies. Our Diversity Task Force report, released last month, highlighted the lack of diversity in the sector, with the problem becoming particularly acute as one moves up the pay scale. The fact is that if the sector opens up more to a more diverse workforce, it will not only have a better chance of tackling the current skills gap, but also of building a stronger foundation for the future. with improved retention rates.

IMI has warned that the automotive retail sector currently lacks the skills and talent pool needed to service and repair electrified vehicles.

It calls for a £15m investment in training government electric vehicle (EV) technicians. The increased funding would, according to IMI, play a vital role in contributing to the training of up to 75,000 technicians.

Auto dealership service departments need to take steps to keep pace with dramatic industry changes such as electrification, automation and digitalization.