5000 jobs vacant in UK automotive industry

9th February 2016

Up to 5,000 job vacancies in the UK automotive industry could be vacant due to a skills shortage affecting the sector, according to a new report published today by the Automotive Council.

The report1, which was developed by automotive industry consultants SMMT Industry Forum on behalf of the Automotive Industrial Partnership, surveys a range of British-based automotive firms, from vehicle manufacturers to component suppliers, to identify the areas of employment most difficult to recruit, and provide an important means for industry and government to tackle the skills issue. Around 19% of the unfilled vacancies cited in the report are identified as ‘critical’ and having a significant impact on company operations.

Of the top 10 job types for which recruitment is most difficult, the majority are in engineering – with the top two in-demand roles being design and production engineers. The knock-on effect, according to the report, is that companies are hiring temporary contractors and increasingly recruiting from abroad.

The renaissance of the UK automotive industry since the recession has brought significant success to the sector and helped to sustain just under 800,000 jobs across Britain. 2015 was the best year in a decade for car production with 1.59 million vehicles built2, and volumes are forecast to reach an all-time record two million by 2020.3 The UK also achieved notable success in productivity levels, which have increased 40% since 2010 to make UK labour productivity the highest in Europe.4 But this success could be undermined by the lack of skilled engineers to fill new jobs, despite efforts made by companies to increase training and apprenticeships.5


1About the report: Employers’ views of the jobs and skills required for the UK automotive industry

Devised by the Automotive Industrial Partnership, the report features a survey of 61 UK automotive companies, including eight vehicle manufacturers and 23 suppliers, collectively employing around 83,200 people in the UK. It identifies where the main gaps lie in skills availability, as well as how critical these gaps are.

2,500 vacancies from the companies surveyed were found to be ‘difficult to fill’ or ‘challenging’, which when extrapolated to the whole industry (around 160,000 people employed), puts the potential number of these jobs at almost 5,000.

The full report can be downloaded at, (after 00:01 on Tuesday 9 February).

2SMMT Production International Exchange (PIE) data

3SMMT/AutoAnalysis 2015 report: The future of UK automotive manufacturing in 2025 and beyond (

4Automotive Council 2015 report: The international competitiveness of the UK automotive industry (

5SMMT: 2015 Automotive Sustainability Report ( provided by automotive firms rose from 2.5 days per employee to 3.3 days in 2014.

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