The key to growth of any industry or sector lies in its human resources. And the automotive industry in India is no exception. Even as the industry chases a collective dream of becoming the most sought-after automotive market in the world, it faces a humongous challenge of producing the right quality and quantity of manpower, more so to meet the technology-related demands of the future.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) had said in one of its reports a few years back that India, over the next 20 years, will face huge skills gaps in some job categories due to low employability — a worry confronting everyone in the Indian corporate sector, including the automotive sector. For a country that produces a couple of lakh of engineers every year, the worry is not so much of availability, but finding quality manpower, which remains the biggest concern for most manufacturing companies.
The fact is, there is an unparalleled talent scarcity globally and if left unaddressed, it will put brakes on economic growth in both developed and developing countries, WEFstated. A Boston Consulting Group (BCG) study had also warned that manpower supplyin the market would hit the Indian automotive industry in the long-term. By the end ofthis calendar, there would be an estimated shortfall of 3.9 mn graduates, 0.6 mn engineers and 0.75 mn people with vocational training. These are worrying figures.
The situation isn’t so grim for larger players in the market, but smaller manufacturers aspiring to go global, are finding it extremely difficult to attract, recruit and retain good talent. Many of them are taking to training fresh science graduates or undergraduates to not just ensure they stick with the company, but also make them job-ready in a shorter period of time.
There is an urgent need for the industry to step in to address this issue. Strong collaborations are required to be forged between the industry and academia. Basic research needs to be encouraged. And efforts should be made early to ensure engineering graduates don’t get enticed by prospects of the services sector, or otherwise.
Deepangshu Dev Sarmah
New Delhi, June 2012