IMI Perceptions campaign launched to counter 20-year high in automotive vacancies

The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) has launched a new campaign to tackle the 20-year high in automotive vacancies, calling on ‘real voices’ to tell their career stories.

The IMI Perceptions campaign aims to debunk the outdated perceptions of the automotive industry, which are a big factor in dissuading people from the jobs market. Central to the idea will be real people, telling their stories about positive career experiences in the industry. 

Now the professional body is on a recruitment drive to find those people willing to share their experiences, and help drive the next generation of automotive professionals onto the first rung of the ladder. 

Need for IMI Perceptions campaign

Data from the IMI suggests that 111,400 roles need to be filled in the next 10 years. There are currently 218 occupations across the sector, with technological advances, from ADAS and electric vehicles to connected motoring and online sales, creating opportunities that go far beyond traditional perceptions of working in automotive, and highlighting the need for the IMI Perceptions campaign.

In fact, today’s automotive industry is not just about engineering, with skills needed in software development and coding as well. It is a diverse industry with a wide range of jobs, and this will only continue to grow. The market is facing a skills shortage at present, as it looks to compete with more industries to secure its future talent.

“Understandably, businesses are worried about filling vacancies and the impact of skills shortages. We acknowledge the stereotyping that happens and why many people think that a job in automotive is dirty, a masculine work environment, and not welcoming for everyone,” Lesley Woolley, Chief Operating Officer at the IMI explained. “But automotive is changing. The Diversity Task Force has enabled us to work with many businesses who are leading the change to create more equitable, diverse, and inclusive workplaces. 

“They have understood the intrinsic value of attracting, nurturing, and retaining diverse talent. It is now time to showcase the changing face of automotive, a vibrant, tech-led, customer and people-centric ecosystem. It is a great time to be working in the sector which the campaign will clearly demonstrate.”

The new IMI Perceptions campaign will highlight that career opportunities exist for individuals, whether at the start of their working life or looking for a change in direction. Using a highly targeted, regional digital media strategy, real voices will share their own positive experiences within the automotive industry and encourage others to do the same.

Changing perceptions of the industry

Championed by Linda Jackson, Chief Executive Officer at Peugeot and a founding member of the IMI Diversity Task Force, the IMI Perceptions campaign will use digital platforms to reach people at key points for job change. 

Data has identified that many people consider a career change on a return from a summer break. Kicking off in September, therefore, with regionally targeted activity pinpointing job roles matched to employers with vacancies, the IMI Perceptions campaign will also highlight stories of those who have moved into automotive for a career change. 

Amy Edwards, an Apprentice LCV Technician at Motus Commercials is one of those real voices. “I never thought about joining the automotive sector until I saw a service advisor job advertised at the same company where my Dad and brother worked. With my customer service background in retail, I thought why not have a go. I haven’t looked back and I honestly can’t imagine working in any other industry now.

“I believe the biggest misconception of the sector is that workshop roles are dirty and for less intelligent people. The way the industry is going with EV means that there are less mucky jobs on the vehicles and the added safety concerns means that everyone needs a good level of training. Plus, I’ve never met a Master Technician who hasn’t completely blown my mind with the amount of knowledge they have.

“I am currently on my third role in the sector and I can honestly say the skills I’ve gained in the previous two roles have helped me massively in my current position. Take advantage of work experience and apprenticeship opportunities and even just pop into a local site and ask any questions you have. We are a sector in need so you won’t be turned away.”

The IMI is urging members and the wider automotive community to share their real voices to raise awareness of the potential of automotive as part of the IMI Perceptions campaign. You can find out more here.

It is also engaging with employers to put their vacancies in front of those looking for their first job or a career change. And the IMI is encouraging everyone working in automotive to sign its Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Pledge which will keep them up to date with the IMI Perceptions Campaign.

“Urgent action is needed to start attracting talent and reassure joiners that automotive is an enticing, exciting and inclusive sector” concluded Woolley. “We also need employers to embrace and amplify the IMI Perceptions campaign through their own channels.  After all, it is their businesses that will benefit.”

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