Autonomous Vehicles: How will the arrival of driverless technology affect the automotive recruitment industry?

Autonomous vehicles are set to take over the future. Companies such as Tesla, Volvo, Nissan and even Jaguar Land Rover are investing huge amounts of resources into finding new, innovative ways of developing efficient autonomous vehicles. We carried out research into how this would affect the automotive recruitment industry.

Consequently, this new technology brings risks and opportunities alike. Companies such as Blackberry have seized the opportunities that come from the increasingly popular autonomous technology and have shifted all of their focus into developing in this area. According to Blackberry CEO John Chen, “A car needs cybersecurity, especially an autonomously driven car. All the cars nowadays are very hackable.” With this in mind, it is clear that there is great risk associated with the new technology. For the recruitment industry, this creates a demand for people with new skills that are able to develop high-quality cybersecurity. Previously, demand would have been for those that could both design and create parts, such as an engine or brakes.

Additionally, insurance companies such as AXA have begun testing scenarios in which the car is forced into an accident to see how it would react. According to a proposed new Vehicle and Aviation Bill, if a car is hacked and the brakes malfunction, the manufacturer would be liable for damages – as long as the user had installed all necessary software updates.

In terms of recruitment, the introduction of this new technology is extremely beneficial to the industry – as it will create both public and private sector jobs. The UK government is constantly striving to remain at the forefront of regulation for autonomous vehicles, despite the fact that the technology is not yet widely available to the public – with the exception of Tesla Autopilot.

Within car companies themselves, there is a significant amount of pioneering work being carried out, resulting in a dramatic increase of investment. This means that the workforce will have to adapt to meet the needs of the changing technology. Car manufacturers may additionally face challenges in hiring candidates who are qualified for new, complex roles.

However, UK universities are beginning to prepare their future students by offering degree courses such as Autonomous Vehicle Dynamics and Control. Over the next few years, engineers will have to adapt their skill set in order to stay relevant and employable in a constantly changing industry.

The UK government estimates that the autonomous vehicle industry will be worth £28bn in the next 17 years. Steele-Dixon anticipates that this growth in industry value will also result in a huge increase in the number of automotive industry jobs, a change we will readily embrace.

Autonomous vehicle technology is also spreading into the racing world. Racing cars are being designed by Roborace, which won’t only be autonomous, but will not even carry a supervising driver. As a result, the new generation of racing cars will be more aerodynamic, lighter and by extension, faster. It is likely that they will join the Formula E global series, racing alongside manned electric vehicles.

Infrastructure will require development in order to support the influx of new autonomous vehicles. The Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill will require petrol stations and large retailers to install charging points for electric cars. In turn, charging point operators would be required to provide updates on whether the equipment was working, how much it costs and their opening times.

It seems the government is ready for the technology to become more widespread, so all that remains to be seen is how quickly carmakers will be able to develop it. One thing that is clear is that the autonomous vehicle industry will create many opportunities in three main sectors: technology, development and manufacturing, legislation, and insurance. As a result of this, new job opportunities will be created in the aforementioned sectors as well as within the wider automotive industry.

Steele-Dixon is not only aware of these changes in the industry, but prepared to embrace them. We are constantly striving to remain ahead of the curve providing bespoke recruitment solutions for your business. Finding the right people with the right skill set is a potential challenge when the industry itself is pushing into uncharted territory.

However, with our vast and diverse candidate bank and over 50 years experience within automotive recruitment, Steele-Dixon is fully equipped to provide talented professionals, ready to adapt to an ever-changing industry.

To read the latest insights from Steele-Dixon, click here. Or, to find skilled professionals for your organisation, click here.


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