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Car industry too little prepared for job losses

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The automotive industry is not sufficiently prepared for the loss of jobs due to the switch to e-mobility, says Harald Müller, head of the Bonn Economic Academy BWA. He warns that in many HR departments, the personnel development is neglected at the expense of recruiting and administration.

Müller refers to estimates of the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering and Organization, according to which only in the production of the drives until the year 2030, every second digit should be omitted. That would mean a loss of 100,000 jobs, according to Fraunhofer in the same sector about 25,000 new jobs to be created. This ratio of 100 to 25 is likely to apply to the employment situation in large parts of the automotive and supplier industries, the BWA chief fears.

"From the usual car batteries over conventional brakes to transmissions, nothing is needed that was previously produced for the automotive industry," says Müller. "But more than 800,000 jobs are directly related to the industry. If one quarter of this is actually eliminated, it is not just a catastrophe for those affected, but for Germany as a business location and for social peace in this country. "

It also creates new jobs, such as the construction and operation of new infrastructures for e-mobility or mobile services. "But the transfer effort is enormous," says Müller. So you could put someone who was previously in the gearbox assembly, not after a short retraining course on a computer screen and expect that works smoothly.

"Automakers and suppliers partly overwhelmed"

Among other things, the BWA specializes in advising corporations on personnel changes. Müller knows from practice: "Most companies do not run a staffing matrix, so they know nothing about their specific abilities, but also their employees' obstacles. They have no systematic knowledge of the potential of their workforce and therefore are not able to identify who is ready, able and willing to retrain. "

For many HR departments, recruiting and personnel management are in the foreground, while personnel development is neglected, says Müller. "The politically, socially, and ultimately industrially-driven conversion to e-mobility brings all these issues to light, and the automakers and suppliers are sometimes overwhelmed in coping."

By 2020, the German automotive industry wants to triple its offer of electric vehicles, the Verband der Automobilindustrie (VDA) has announced. The manufacturers want to invest about 40 billion euros in electromobility. "The industry would be well advised to put a good part of it in the training of employees, but also to keep ready for social plans," said Müller.

The BWA boss clarifies: "In an e-car, 200 parts are installed, while it was in a car with internal combustion engine still 1,200 parts. This reduces the assembly time per car from 20 hours to less than 15 hours. So there is an urgent need for a plan to take workers along in this development. We owe this not only to the people affected, but this is also an essential prerequisite for social peace in Germany. "

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