Like many U.S. manufacturers today, the automotive industry faces a massive global talent shortage, largely due to technology. As Industry 4.0 gathers steam, the demand for traditional assembly line skills has declined, replaced by a fast-growing demand for more tech-savvy talent.

As many know, these workers are already in short supply – in virtually all other manufacturing sectors, as well as the tech industry – although the automotive industry is among the hardest hit.

“This is because it’s so rapidly changing,” says MSI president Eric Egnet. “Technologies like autonomous robots, the Internet of things, artificial intelligence, and Blockchain are creating whole new possibilities to dramatically optimize the lifecycle, from production to sale. These include the ability to improve and streamline vehicle quality and production, orchestrate frictionless supply chain management, and enable fraud-free vehicle distribution.”

A recent survey by MSI and bears this out, and provides additional details on the industry’s challenges, priorities, and needs around global talent acquisition and retention. (For a snapshot of survey findings, please see the infographic above.)

For example, 100 percent of those surveyed — a cross section of nearly two dozen automotive companies — agreed that talent mobilization is becoming more of a necessity, given these skills shortages. Most of those responding also said that their companies maintain a prospective employee global talent pool to readily meet future needs.

In some instances, maintaining these global talent pools consists of nurturing relationships with external candidates, who can then be brought in when needed. In others, it can mean working with existing employees to help them develop the appropriate competencies, skills, and cultural/strategic alignment, so they’re ready to roll in the not-too-distant future.

With regard to talent mobilization, the primary drivers, according to the survey, are business needs, followed by technical skills and leadership development. For nearly all respondents, mobilizing their global talent was considered highly critical or somewhat critical to their company’s future.

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