CEO Update

To be the best, UK Automotive needs to attract the best

11 November 2022 #CEO Update

The automotive industry faces many challenges, perhaps more than at any time in its history. Some are beyond our control, but must be overcome if we are to deliver both for society and the economy. Yet the most pressing challenge of all – the transition to zero emission mobility – is one that is so multi-faceted, it needs more than just the effort and ingenuity of our industry.

There’s no doubt our sector is leading this transition, developing, building and bringing to market the vehicles. But has been mentioned so many times before, we need infrastructure; we need clean, reliable and affordable energy; and we need people.

To drive our industrial transformation we must broaden our skills base and here we have a recruitment problem. Half of our members tell us that they are struggling to fill vacancies in key roles, and we’re not the only sector competing for talent. So while we continue to retrain and upskill our existing workforce to master new technologies, we need to appeal to the widest possible talent pool and get the message out about the opportunities we offer – lifelong, rewarding, well paid careers at the cutting edge of future mobility.

That’s why this week, SMMT, in partnership with the City of London Livery Company, the Worshipful Company of Coachmakers and Coach Harness Makers, launched a new automotive Career Guide. It gives advice on how to join the industry in a diverse range of jobs across every sector, from design to data analytics; software engineering to service and repair, and offers guidance on how to find the ideal job or apprenticeship, interview technique and scholarship and bursary opportunities.

As the sector continues to diversify and expand beyond roles traditionally associated with it, attracting and fostering talent is imperative – so I encourage you to share the guide with your networks.

Meanwhile, this week’s Q3 used car figures revealed that, despite an overall market decline due to persistent supply chain shortages, used battery electric vehicle transactions soared with a record 16,775 changing hands. That’s good news but given these vehicles still make up just one in 105 used sales underlines the scale of the challenges we face. There is clearly growing demand and to encourage more we need a thriving new car market to feed it.

So we look to the government to use next week’s Autumn Statement as an opportunity to deliver a long-term fiscal commitment towards zero emission motoring, in particular investment in the UK’s public charging infrastructure to ensure electric vehicles are accessible to all consumers and businesses, no matter where they live, work or operate.

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