The discussion kicked off with insights on the recruitment challenges from Manu Sharma, AVP HR, Hero Electric. He stated, “Acquiring the right skill sets and getting them conditioned to the industry roadblocks of the electric two-wheeler segment were the main challenges we had faced in the past. Tech talent war within and outside the automobile industry keeps the talent demand high”. Abhimanyu Sen, Head HR, Mahindra Electric, said, “Employee engagement has been a challenge for the past eighteen months. As for future hiring trends, we need to focus more on expanding and enriching the talent base.”
Feeling optimistic about future growth, Shalinder Rathi, AVP HR, Rico Auto, opined, “Talent demand will surge in the coming years, specifically from the fields of automation, electronic engineering, instrumentation, and digital innovation”. Talking further about the future talent growth, Harish Pillai, Head HR, Ford, added, “India is a hub of diverse talent. The hiring trends will witness an upward sustainable growth from this year onwards for a combination of skill sets in sectors such as analytics, artificial intelligence, data science, and R&D. Ford intends to increase its headcount by 50-60% in the next 2-3 years.”
Bala NV, Executive Director HR, Ashok Leyland, also presented a positive outlook for the talent landscape. He emphasized, “With the advancement in technology, the demand for functional experts will grow in the years to come. We will strive for targeted hiring (and not mass hiring) of specific skill sets.”
Recognizing the relevance of the gig workforce, Aparna Dhingra, Head HR, BMW, remarked, “Contractual workers and apprentices are the primary business model of our manufacturing units. So, we identify and build specialized roles for the flexible staff.”
Sarvesh Prasad, VP-Academics and Operations, Sunstone Eduversity, probed the academia-specific perspective of the leaders. He asked about the shift in the downstream jobs created in the automotive industry with the emergence of newer technologies in the shape of electric vehicles. He also inquired the panelists about the specific skills they look for in freshers and their current strategies for upskilling their workforce.