The Future of Automotive Industry: Automation's Effect on Jobs

January 8, 2018

New generation technologies have led to a demand for a new set of skills from the automotive workforce. According to estimates by experts, including Nasscom, the sector that currently has 70,000 engineers is likely to employ about one million engineers by 2020.

 

Amongst the fear of losing jobs and the insecurity of existing skills becoming irrelevant, this estimate can be good news for the talent market. 

 

With the onset of automation in the automotive industry, the demand for engineers will keep on increasing. There will be more demand for hires for cutting-edge automated technology such as artificial intelligence, robotics, cognitive solutions and machine learning, as per a report by Ficci-Nasscom and EY.

 

This report also mentioned that the employment in the automotive sector is likely to reach 14.3 million in 2022 and new skill sets would be required for 60-65 percent of the jobs.

 

Many agree that low-skilled labor jobs are the most likely to be affected by automation. However, based on recent research, Mckinsey Global Institute suggests “a focus on occupations is misleading because very few occupations will be automated in their entirety in the near or medium term.”

 

While repetitive jobs roles such as painting and welding may be more likely threatened, job roles in robotics, programming and maintenance will see an increase in demand.  

 

According to Gajendra Chandel, Chief Human Resources Officer, Tata Motors, “With the automotive industry shifting gears rapidly, revolutionizing the way people and goods move, it seems natural to move towards automation, more so in recent times.”

 

He is optimistic about the future of talent in the industry and believes that continuous training and development is the key. In fact, he shared that Tata Motors has been hiring 700 – 800 graduates every year not just to replenish but to meet growing needs and will continue to do this in the future.

 

“While the automation provides several benefits for manufacturers, it’s perceived to have a negative impact on employment. With automation, comes the increased need for trained manpower with advanced skills to design, implement, monitor and manage “automation”. Further, certain complex manufacturing jobs cannot be automated and will continue to need human skills especially in “low volume” environments. Owing to this, we at Tata Motors have constantly worked on training and reskilling our workforce to keep their skills updated and current to the rapidly changing technological landscape, in line with the organization’s mandate of becoming future ready,” said Gajendra Chandel.

 

Research and Development centers are also critical to this industry and they facilitate employment. Nasscom estimates there are more than five million people employed in R&D and engineering across all sectors and 15% of these people are in the automotive industry.

 

The onset of automation in the automotive industry can lead to further growth and be seen as an opportunity. Through skilling, the workforce can remain relevant and useful to the industry.

 

Pant, Drishi. (2017). “Future of Talent in Automotive Industry”. Retrieved from https://www.peoplematters.in/news/skilling/future-of-talent-in-automotive-industry-17182.

 

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