The UK automotive sector has been described as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the nation’s economy following its recent strong growth and disruptive technology developments.
Eighty-five percent of the UK’s automotive industry forecasts continued growth in 2015, according to a BDO survey carried out in conjunction with IMechE, which is excellent news for professionals seeking opportunities within the sector. Britain’s car manufacturers will be creating 50,000 new jobs from 2015-16 as production is brought back to the UK and as the “green” auto market continues to make progress. A study by Lloyds Bank explains that work previously sent abroad is returning to the UK as car companies seek more reliable and shorter supply chains.
The UK maintains its reputation for being world-class innovators with a strong commitment to research and development. David Atkinson, head of manufacturing for SMEs at Lloyds, said: “Britain remains a leading player in automotive manufacturing, with a complex supply chain of high value engineering.”
The Lloyds Bank study also states that “the key to maintaining this [growth] is to make the UK as competitive a business environment as possible. Especially important are measures to support innovation investment and high value skills.”
The BDO survey echoes these findings and revealed that 34% of respondents expect a very healthy growth rate of between 5% and 20%, which will largely be driven by export markets. The automotive manufacturing has indeed been a success for the UK in recent years, seeing foreign-owned companies such as Jaguar Land Rover attract significant investment and export to large markets such as China and the US. The industry giant has already announced on-shoring 20% of their business and almost 30% of total production will occur in the UK by 2016.
Disruptive technology developments
Apart from predictions of strong growth, many new ‘disruptive’ technologies, such as driverless cars, are generating excitement within the industry. Driverless car technology is anticipated to help sustain the sector in decades to come. Traditional carmakers such as Daimler are presently vying with technology firms such as Google as the competition for low-speed, self-driving vehicles heats up. According to the UK government, the driverless car industry globally is expected to be worth approximately £900 billion by 2025.
For now, the industry is still in its infancy as the testing of driverless cars on public roads has just been given the greenlight. By the summer of 2016, Britons can expect to be joined on the roads by self-driving vehicles.
For employers and job seekers alike, the future looks bright.