Aftermarket skills gap one of the worst in UK

The automotive aftermarket is in an employment pit and is in desperate need of help to fill much-needed gaps, the latest report from the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) shows.

Vacancy rates within the sector are remaining high at a rate of 4.3 vacancies for every 100 employees; the rate is 43% above the average for all sectors.

Post-pandemic recovery patterns, technological advances and changing customer behaviour are all contributing to this.

Only the hospitality sector has a higher vacancy rate, reveals the report, although that sector is seeing significant improvements in recruitment which means its vacancy rates are likely to fall below that of automotive within the next few months.

“The gap between vacancies in automotive and all other UK sectors highlights the multitude of unique and ongoing challenges we face,” said Steve Nash, IMI CEO.

“With our sector currently facing around 23,000 vacancies, it’s critical that everything is done to encourage more job seekers to consider a role in automotive.”

He added :“The IMI’s ‘There’s More to Motor’ campaign is already spreading the word about the wide range of opportunities for school leavers, apprentices and career changers.

“Since launching last Summer, we have already reached millions of individuals, many of whom have never held an automotive role. However, the reality is that, even with such a high level of success, it takes time for that to translate into reducing the vacancy rate.”

The IMI believes the shift in automotive technology – EVs and ADAS – has also intensified the challenges faced by the sector, with 52% of job postings in January 2024 seeking Vehicle Technicians, Mechanics, and Electricians.

Emma Carrigy, Research Manager at the IMI said: “The correlation between trends in vacancy rates and job postings in the sector illustrates a complex scenario, defined by technological evolution, shifting consumer preferences, and the ongoing challenge of bridging the skills gap.

“Automotive is in transition, seeking to address the skills gap and adapt to future mobility needs simultaneously, to maintain a successful and thriving workforce and prosper in this new landscape.”

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