Until a few years ago, in the automotive manufacturing sector, the primary focus on human resources was centered on maintaining the necessary skilled workforce for production.
However, technological transformation, like it has impacted professional profiles across all sectors, has also affected talent acquisition and qualification in the automotive industry. Technological advancements have increased the need for specialized skills beyond frontline operations.
Oliver Wyman, the management consulting firm, highlights that "instead of simply replacing assembly line workers with robots, companies should upgrade the training of their current workforce so they can perform new digital tasks." They further state, "Beneath the surface are innovations that will drive the industry in the future: big data, advanced analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), automated back-office processes, and service robots."
This situation has led companies in the automotive sector to make efforts to attract and nurture talent in their teams. Currently, manufacturing companies prioritize the recruitment of highly qualified professionals in innovation and technological development in their selection policies, as well as supporting qualification in this regard among their existing teams.
Reinforcing this trend is crucial today as professionals from the Baby Boomer generation are retiring from the labor market. It is necessary to replace those who are retiring - more than 25% of automotive manufacturing workers are over 55 years old - professionals with extensive knowledge and experience that younger or recently joined professionals have not yet accumulated. Therefore, it is essential to transfer that accumulated knowledge to the new generations of professionals, something that automotive manufacturers are already investing efforts in.
These companies are also adapting their policies to the expectations of younger generations, mainly millennials, regarding their social work environment. This includes flexible benefits, recognition of work-life balance, contributing to the fight against climate change, etc. Hence, business decisions of automotive companies already take this component into account in decision-making.
In terms of environmental awareness, especially in an industry that emits a considerable portion of greenhouse gases, automakers are trying to minimize their carbon footprint as much as possible, addressing not only legislation but also the concerns of the new society.
Many companies in the automotive sector are following the guidelines outlined by Forbes to attract and retain talent: adapting their culture to a progressive, technology-based approach in line with the philosophy of the new generations.
Specifically, in the technological aspect, Forbes suggests that companies should focus their efforts on e-learning, communication via social networks, instant messaging, or blogs, artificial intelligence in terms of automating routines and repetitive tasks, and project management with interconnected tools.
This is the direction the industry should head towards, and the first steps have already been taken in shaping professional teams in the automotive sector.
Within the automotive sector, the equipment and components segment is also moving in this direction. Currently, it employs 224,700 people directly, registering one of the highest employment growth rates within the Spanish industry, with a compound annual growth rate of 3.2% from 2009 to 2017.
The sector represents more than 10% of industrial employment in several autonomous communities. Furthermore, considering direct and indirect jobs, the figure rises to 372,800 people, according to 2018 data, with 230,100 of them being indirect positions.
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