Auto industry at European 2011 Job Day in Brussels

BRUSSELS, 01/10/11- The 2011 European Job-Day on the 1st of October 2011 in Brussels attracted over 10,000 visitors, and the automobile industry was there to meet them in a special ‘Automotive Village’. The annual recruitment event hooks up the thousands of job seekers with eager recruiters, offering the chance to meet, interview and even get a job with a diverse range of employers.

Trade association ACEA helped facilitate an Automotive Village, which was home to 6 major automotive manufacturers, Daimler, Volvo, Iveco, DAF, Fiat and Janguar-Land Rover. Hundreds of young people queued up to have a chance to speak to industry representatives. The village also promoted the Our Future Mobility Now initiative. 

Princess Mathilde visits 

The Brussels event was graced by a visit by her Royal Highness Princess Mathilde of Belgium, who visited the Automotive Village and met Ivan Hodac, the Secretary General of ACEA. The pair discussed the economic importance of the industry and the shortage of skills the industry is experiencing.

Ivan Hodac (centre) explains the OFMN initiative to the Princess (right), while Commissioner Andor inspects the OFMN artwork.

The Princess was interested in how the industry is helping to encourage young people, and particularly young women, into the automotive industry. In his response, Hodac told the Royal “it is important to encourage pro- automotive career choices at an early age, particularly for girls.” Her Highness was fascinated by the profiles the industry was seeking. “We are particularly looking for specialists and engineers: the future of the industry depends on the ability to develop, test and build safe, environmentally friendly and desirable products. Without innovative and suitably skilled young people, that simply won’t happen,” said Hodac. The Princess took the opportunity to learn a little about the Our Future Mobility Now initiative, enjoying the artwork created at the Our Future Mobility Now congress in June 2011. Hodac told her about the initiative, saying “this is just one project which shows how the automotive industry is involving young people in dialogue and work with the industry.” 

Young people’s vision 

Young people share a distinct vision of why they want to be involved in automotive, and what they want to achieve while there. The automotive industry appears to have no trouble soliciting applications for jobs. The queues of young people lined up to talk to a recruiter attest to its appeal. Ahmed, one of the Our Future Mobility Now delegates visiting the Job-Day, told us why he thinks young people want to be part of the automotive industry. “There are exciting and interesting changes taking place in what until recently felt like a very static industry. More and more, cars are becoming interfaces for mobility, offering an improved user experience. Being part of that change is attractive.” Another young adult, Kyle, 25, told us “Automotive gets the world moving – ever since the invention of the car, the pace of technological development has sped up, cultures have been mixed and changed, and the world has become a smaller and more diverse place” says Kyle, a young European with a passion for cars. “Everything changed since the car – and I want to be part of that”.

Kyle explains why he would like to join the automotive industry.

With a Bachelor’s in Physics and a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, Kyle is just the kind of young person that the automotive industry competes for. “I think that I have the right skills to make the difference in this competitive sector.” 

Recruiter’s vision 

On the other side of the interview table, dedicated HR experts interview each of the young people that come to see them. We spoke to a few from the different companies to see what they look for in their fresh recruits. Giancarlo Bezze, a recruiter at Fiat, put it clearly. “We look for dynamism, flexibility and an international profile. But most of all we look for a passion for automotive.”

Some firms look for specific hard skills – at DAF trucks, Loes Janssen, a Branding officer, confirmed the severe shortage of engineers. “Only recently we needed 50 production and mechanical engineers – it was immensely difficult to find qualified people.” Other companies are less strict on specific hard skill sets, depending on the sector.

Marie-Pierre Saint Viteux, Vice-President of HR Management for Volvo, told us “Young people have fantastic energy – and also we look for passion and respect – so we run a Young Graduate program that helps guide promising young potential leaders to where their preferences really lie. We like engineers, economists, mathematicians and so on, but in principle all profiles interest us.” Volvo’s Young Graduate program is one of many such schemes run in large global companies across all sectors of the economy. Volvo’s is particularly competitive: in Sweden, there are as many as a thousand applicants per place. The Volvo scheme hires 20-30 people a year, and is a 12 month programme which takes talented graduates with diverse nationalities and academic backgrounds and tests them in a variety of different business operations. Opportunities are available all over the world, and include a three month mission abroad.

IVECO were straightforward: “We don’t look for particular hard skills – new graduates don’t have any” says Federica Gianotti, recruiter at the IVECO stand. “The skills taught in university and what we actually need are a bit different. What is important is that applicants are honest and humble about their abilities, open-minded and flexible.”

During the day Daimler gave a presentation, explaining the company and its values. As a leading firm, they look for people with passion, integrity, who are disciplined and have respect for the company and for their colleagues. The comments of the companies at the Job-Day echoed the views heard at the Frankfurt Motor show in September.

On that occasion, BMW careers told us that they “like young people to want to come to BMW with the idea of building a career. We value loyalty, honesty and sociability.” These differences of approach signal that for a young person in search of an automotive career, there is a place for everyone. Applicants should be honest, open-minded, flexible, respectful, and have a passion for what they’re doing, but after that it’s up to the young applicant to shine at interview. 

With over 10000 visitors, the annual Brussels European Job-Day 2011 was host to nearly 50 employers. Held in the Berlaymont on the 1st of October 2011, it provided the opportunity for job-seekers to interact with employers. 75% of visitors were under 30 and 69% of the total were actual job-seekers. 

About ACEA

  • The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) represents the 16 major Europe-based car, van, truck and bus makers: BMW Group, DAF Trucks, Daimler Truck, Ferrari, Ford of Europe, Honda Motor Europe, Hyundai Motor Europe, Iveco Group, Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Renault Group, Stellantis, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen Group, Volvo Cars, and Volvo Group.
  • Visit www.acea.auto for more information about ACEA, and follow us on www.twitter.com/ACEA_auto or www.linkedin.com/company/ACEA/.
  • Contact: Cara McLaughlin, Communications Director, cm@acea.auto, +32 485 88 66 47.

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About the EU automobile industry

  • 12.7 million Europeans work in the auto industry (directly and indirectly), accounting for 6.6% of all EU jobs.
  • 11.5% of EU manufacturing jobs – some 3.5 million – are in the automotive sector.
  • Motor vehicles are responsible for €398.4 billion of tax revenue for governments across key European markets.
  • The automobile industry generates a trade surplus of €76.3 billion for the EU.
  • The turnover generated by the auto industry represents more than 8% of the EU’s GDP.
  • Investing €58.8 billion in R&D annually, the automotive sector is Europe’s largest private contributor to innovation, accounting for 32% of total EU spending.
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