With the shift away from internal combustion engine-powered vehicles to electric vehicles, the automotive sector is seeing big changes.
Most car manufacturers are already selling or developing hybrid and electric vehicles. Last year, sales of electric vehicles (EVs) in Europe increased by over 40% and by 2040 it’s predicted that 45 million EVs will be sold worldwide.
The rise in popularity of electric vehicles is changing the automotive market in dramatic ways - and one of those is the expanding skill sets demanded from engineers.
We’ve already talked about how vacancies in electric automotive are now cropping up around three times faster than vacancies in traditional automotive (if you haven’t already, read the RHL article ‘5 reasons to work in automotive engineering’ for more information).
But what’s also clear is that there’s a real shortfall of skills in this huge growth market - particularly for technical professionals with battery knowledge. The sector urgently needs battery specialists, hybrid engineers and engineers who know about battery management, software and power electronics.
In the past, automotive professionals’ skill sets tended to grow alongside any new technology. So for example, engineers specialising in engine development and testing would grow their skills over 20 years alongside new engine changes.
But high-voltage batteries are now powering vehicles, and these same engineers simply haven’t been trained to be able to work safely on such specialist technology.
Although the sector as a whole can encourage automotive engineers to upskill or reskill, it must also find employees who have those crucial battery, high-voltage or electrification skills right now.
At RHL we’ve worked in automotive engineering for decades and can track the evolution of the automotive sector through the type of specialist technical roles we’ve recruited for.
Thinking back to 15 years ago, most of the candidates we’d place would be in mechanical engineering with some electrical and electronic roles cropping up too.
But in the last two to three years, as EVs and hybrids have grown in popularity, our recruitment focus has firmly shifted to placing top talent with electronics skills.
If you have battery, high-voltage or electrification skills and work in another sector, you may not realise that the automotive industry desperately needs you - and we have a large selection of roles that we’re currently recruiting for.
We’re looking to attract over talent from other parallel sectors, from the National Grid, to food service, to oil and gas. One of our clients, a test and proving ground, has an emissions lab where they test vehicle emissions. The analysers they use are identical to those used in the oil and gas industry.
Perhaps you’ve worked as a facilities engineer in another industry. Did you know that the test equipment you’ll have used to test batteries is broadly the same as that used in the automotive sector?
To combat harmful air pollution, Paris is set to ban any vehicle with a diesel engine - and at some point, every capital city will follow suit. Let’s think about what that could mean for construction vehicles, which currently overwhelmingly run on diesel.
Whether they publicise their plans or not, all automotive makers are developing battery power - either now or in the near future - and so it’s a huge growth area to be involved in.
Hybrid and electric vehicles will play a key role in a cleaner and greener future and if you have the right skills, it’s bound to be a thrilling ride.
Get in touch
At RHL, we have strong relationships with leading automotive businesses nationwide. Find out more and contact us to talk about current vacancies here.