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In-Depth Jobs


volume-20, 17-23 August 2019

New Jobs in the Automotive Sector

Rruchi Shrimalli

Most students who have passed Class 12th this year and took admission in various college courses will be seeking jobs in 2022 - since most graduation courses in India are three-year long. Those who have joined the engineering courses will be ready to join the workforce after four years (in 2023). New medical students know that they can work as doctors anywhere - in clinics or in hospitals - once they graduate but for the rest, it is important to know which skills will be in demand in the next three to four years.

FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry) and NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Services Companies) initiated with a study 'Future of Jobs' with EY (Ernst & Young) which examined global megatrends and their impact on the Indian economy. The report studied five of the key sectors in India in detail and came up with the skills they will require in 2022. These sectors were:

  • Automotive,
  • BFSI (Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance),
  • IT-BPM (Information Technology and Business Process Management),
  • Retail, and

It is believed that in the near future, there will be a decline in the repetitive and predictable, rule-based jobs while the demand will increase for creative, design-oriented skills that require high order thinking skills (HOTS).

Changes in Skills

According to the report, three major trends that are going to affect job opportunities in these sectors in India will be - globalization, changes in demographics, and adoption of new technologies by various industries. It is predicted will create most job opportunities in the IT and BFSI sectors, to some extent in auto and retail sectors, and least in core manufacturing sectors such as apparel and leather industries.

The skill sets needed by the future employees of these countries are also expected to change by a large percentage:

In this article, we will discuss which type of new jobs and new skills you will need to find jobs in the automotive sector in the near future.

Current Status of Automotive Sector in India

India is the world's fourth-largest car manufacturer and seventh largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles. By 2026, it is expected to reach a turnover of Rs 16-18 lakh crores. About 3.1 crore vehicles were manufactured in India in 2019.

Traditionally, two-wheelers dominate the Indian automobile market - making up 81% of all domestic sales this year. The sale of commercial vehicles also grew at a rate of 17.55% since last year. Such a large industry needs to employ a lot of people - directly and indirectly. These people include regular employees as well as contractual workers. Whether you are targeting white collar jobs, skilled jobs, or unskilled labour vacancies - the automobile industry offers you a lot of employment opportunities.

The top 5 automakers and component manufacturers in India together employ about 1.5 lakh people. Overall, about 1.28 crore people are working in the industry today. A recent study by a human resources firm PeopleStrong projected that hiring in the automotive sector will increase by 10-15% in 2020.

Introduction of new products and technologies, stricter emission rules, and expanding capacity means that employment opportunities will rise both at the level of leading manufacturers as well as component makers.

The study also revealed that the key focus areas of the vacancies will be related to the following skills and technologies:

  • Connected technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automation,
  • Digital Internet of Things (IoT) skills,
  • 5G Connectivity,
  • Coding, and Advanced Driving Assist-ance System (ADAS).

Hiring is expected to grow by 17-20% in these areas in the next 12-18 months.

Other areas where the hiring in the automotive sector is projected to be strong are:

  • Research and Develop-ment (R&D): In the R&D department, automakers will be targeting talent that has skills related to designing electric vehicles, engines, and fuel systems.

The Indian government also harbours an ambition of encouraging the sale of only electric vehicles (EVs) in the near future. 11 cities have already been shortlisted for the introduction of EVs in the public transport system. It also aims to make India a global manufacturing and R&D hub as well as a hub for offshoring. Five testing and research centres have already been established since 2015 under the National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project (NATRiP).

  • Calibration: The deadline for complying with the EURO VI emission norms has been set around April 2020. It means that the component industry will need to increase its capacity in advance, which means that there will be a lot of hiring at the end of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) as well as the vendors.

Jobs that might not exist anymore

Some of the jobs in the automotive sector that might not exist in the near future include:

  • Welding
  • Press Machine Operation
  • Painting
  • Inspection Assistance
  • In Plant Material Handler

These jobs can easily be automated to bring down costs and enhance performance.

New jobs that will be in demand soon

In fact, the new jobs that will emerge in the automotive sector in the near future are:

  • 3D Printing Technician: This technician will know the methods and techniques to 3D print components, check them to ensure that they meet the required specifications, and know how to make 3D additive manufacturing and injection moulding work.

 

  • Automobile Analytics Engineer: This person will be responsible for applying AI and predictive analytics to manage the inventories; use predictive modelling to identify key features that can improve the efficiency of different processes, components, and vehicles; and use big data to forecast sales more accurately.

 

  • Machine learning based Vehicle Cyber Security Expert: The expert will be able to employ machine learning to imitate human driving patterns, and use deep learning and reinforcement learning techniques to develop Advance Automobile Security Systems. They will develop systems that can avoid threats on the road without human interference.

 

  • Sustainability Integration Expert: These experts will develop customized automobile manufacturing solutions that are sustainable and meet all the rules and regulations regarding health and safety of humans as well as the environment.

Existing Jobs that are changing in nature

Some of the jobs that exist in the automotive sector are changing too. The people who will be hired for these positions will need to have additional skill sets to rise in their career. These jobs include:

Clay Modeller will be replaced by 3D Clay Modeller

Clay modelling was first used to design automobile prototypes back in the 1930s. It used industrial plasticine for the purpose and helped designers to visualize a product.

Today, Virtual Reality and 3D printing are changing the way how design teams check out a design in the virtual space even before making its physical model. Still, the clay is here to stay. There is nothing like a clay model to show how a car surface will react to light and shadow. However, the car modellers that are now in demand are the ones that can translate a designer's sketch into a real, full-scale, 3D car to give them the tactile feel of the product and sort out its optimal ergonomics.

These 3D models can later be scanned into 3D CAD and used to produce manufacturing designs for the vehicle.

The 3D modelling requires additional knowledge of related software, such as Sculpting programs like ZBrush or Mudbox, and Texturing programs like Poly Painting.

Customer Service Executive will be replaced by Customer Care Expert

The customer service executives in any industry do one thing - they receive your calls, answer your queries, and inform you about the steps you need to take to solve your problem. In the automotive sector, it might mean telling people about the price or features of the model of the car they like or telling them about the company policies regarding warranty or guarantee of different components of the car. They work much like Siri - the AI assistant by Apple which fetches you the required information from the database based on the keywords in your question.

Customer care experts are expected to be more helpful, humane, and customer-friendly. They are more concerned about the end-to-end customer experience. As a customer care expert, you do not go through a strict motion to push a sale or satisfy a customer but actually, listen to your customers' needs, try to build a rapport with them, and help them find the right solution.

More and more car makers are investing a lot of money in improving the overall experience of their customers. It means that they need talent with superlative people skills - who can help the customers discover and research their products, shop and purchase them, use them, and build a psychological and emotional connection with their brand. Customer care experts are expected to be in touch with the customer at every touch point related to their company's products or services.

Design Engineer will be replaced by an Interaction Designer

Design engineers in the automotive industry use rough sketches and computer-aided design (CAD) programs to come up with new vehicles. They create ideas and concepts related to the look and visual appeal of the new vehicle as well as its functional performance.

  1. Tech in Automotive Design Engineering is a 4-year course that covers a range of topics on designing, manufacturing, and maintaining vehicles as well as a number of related topics such as energy, environmental concerns, transportation sector, application of fossil and alternative fuels, and development of futuristic vehicles. IIT Madras, UPES Dehradun, SRM University in Chennai are among the top institutes offering this course.

However, it is Interaction Designing that will soon replace Design Engineering in the automotive industry. Designing a new car today requires the use of new technologies and considerations of stricter regulations and safety norms. It means that people with new skills and new specializations are needed in this area.

Interaction designers in the automotive industry may focus more attention on making the car interiors more comfortable for the passengers - which requires specialized knowledge of human factors such as ergonomics, colours, and materials.

It has been noticed that despite the introduction of latest technologies and amazing safety features, incidents of car accidents are increasing. It is because people find the systems too complicated to use them intuitively. Interaction designers are expected to be the person who understands technology and functions of the car and make them user-friendly. Some of the top technologies that make interaction designers a necessity for the car industry are:

  • Increasing usage of touch screens in cars,
  • introducing physical features to minimize driver distraction,
  • making feedback messages cars provide to their drivers more intelligent and smart, and
  • Increasing focus on usability of a car.

Mechanical Engineer will be replaced by Mechatronics Control Engineer

Mechanical Engineers play many roles in the automotive industry - from design enginee-ring to reverse engineering, tool development engineering, application engineering, quality control engineering, production supervisory and logistics supervisory roles. But soon, it will be the Mechatronics Control Engineers that will be more in demand in this sector.

Mechatronics involves the use of both mechanical and electronic devices. Robotics is a subset of this field. Similarly, Control Engineering is about creating control systems that can be electrical, mechanical or chemical in nature.

When we talk about Mechatronics and Control Engineers (MCE), we mean specialists who can use control engineering to control various mechanical and electronic components as well as chemical engineering processes of a car. The MCEs are required to design modern computer-controlled cars and vehicles with a synergistic combination of mechanical, electronic, control and computer engineering.

NIT Surathkhal, NMIMS Mumbai, MIT Manipal, and KIIT Bhubaneshwar are among the top colleges offering undergraduate courses in Mechatronics and Control Engineering.

Operations Excellence Manager will be replaced by a Lean Expert

The Operational Excellence Manager in the automotive sector is expected to work with different teams to implement the best manufacturing practices across them. They define, implement, manage and assess the best practices for the operations of the factories.

However, the automobile industry is looking for more from this role now. They are looking for team leaders who are accountable and responsible for cost reporting and budget for the team, and continuously improve the company's products, operations, systems and processes and make them more efficient.

Also known as Continuous Improvement Managers or Business Improvement Managers, Lean Experts are expected to have an engineering degree, a Master Black Belt in Six Sigma or equivalent qualification, and background in manufacturing, project management as well as people management environments.

Being a qualified trainer and membership of a professional body related to the industry gives you an advantage in this career line.

Rruchi Shrimalli is a career counsellor e-mail: rruchi shrimalli@gmail.com.

Views expressed are personal.

(Image Courtesy : Google)