Problems Contributing to the UK Automotive Industry's Skills Shortage

BY Harry Moores   |  

The UK's Automotive Retail industry plays a crucial role in the country's economy. It needs a skilled workforce that can handle the ever-changing automotive landscape to keep growing.

But here's the catch – there's a significant skills shortage in the automotive industry in the UK. From sales and customer service to technical and managerial roles, there's a scarcity of skilled professionals that's worrying both industry stakeholders and the government.

So how do we fix this? We need to think outside of the box. We focus on encouraging more young people to enter the industry and providing tailored training programs for candidates with little or no experience. By implementing new innovative strategies, the industry can create a more appealing and accessible career option for aspiring individuals. These are just a few of the several approaches that MBA Automotive, can bring to the table to combat this problem.

The bottom line: the skills shortage is a critical issue that's impacting businesses at all levels in the Automotive Retail sector.


The Prevalence of the Skills Shortage

The skills shortage in this industry is a real challenge that's holding back its growth. Reports and studies have highlighted just how serious this problem is, underscoring the need for urgent action to tackle the scarcity of skilled professionals.

Currently, there are more than 100,000 job vacancies across the whole UK automotive sector, according to the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI). And unfortunately, this shortage is only expected to worsen as the industry keeps evolving and creating a higher demand for skilled workers.

Several factors contribute to this predicament:

  1. The retirement of baby boomers, who form a significant portion of the industry's workforce.
  2. The increasing complexity of vehicles requires specialised skills for repair and maintenance.
  3. The lack of training programs tailored to non-experienced candidates and the industry's needs.


Impact on the Industry:

The skills shortage significantly impacts the industry's growth and competitiveness. Let's take a closer look at the consequences:

Hindered Innovation:

With a shortage of skilled workers, there are challenges in innovating and adopting new technologies. Rapid advancements in electric vehicles, autonomous driving, and digital sales platforms require technically proficient employees. Without them, businesses may struggle to keep up with the changing automotive landscape.

Customer Service Deficits:

The lack of skilled sales and customer service representatives can lead to subpar customer experiences. Potential car buyers may feel dissatisfied with the level of service they receive, resulting in lost sales opportunities and negative word-of-mouth. Exceptional customer service is crucial for building a loyal customer base and fostering positive brand perception.

Reduced Productivity:

The scarcity of skilled Technicians directly impacts the speed and quality of vehicle repairs and maintenance services. Longer turnaround times can frustrate customers and reduce overall productivity for Automotive Retail businesses. Efficient and skilled Technicians are vital for meeting customer demands and maintaining a competitive edge.

Increased Costs:

Businesses struggling with a skills shortage may incur higher recruitment and training costs. Finding suitable candidates becomes more challenging, leading to increased efforts and resources spent on hiring. Additionally, bridging skill gaps through training programs can be a significant financial investment.


Contributing Factors

Let's dive into the aspects contributing to the skills shortage in the automotive industry. These key reasons shed light on why finding these professionals has become a challenge:

Ageing Workforce:

One big issue is the ageing workforce. Experienced professionals are retiring, taking with them valuable knowledge and skills.

Replacing these seasoned employees, especially in technical roles like Mechanics, isn't easy and adds to the scarcity of skilled workers.

Impact of Technological Advancements:

The fast-paced technological advancements in the automotive industry have brought new complexities and demands.

Modern vehicles, with their electric and hybrid systems, infotainment tech, and autonomous features, require Technicians with advanced skills.

Limited Investment in Employee Development:

Some businesses don't prioritise employee development and training, leaving their workers without the chance to upskill.

Without opportunities to grow and progress in their careers, employees might seek opportunities elsewhere, deepening the skills shortage.

The automotive industry needs to address these challenges head-on to ensure a skilled and capable workforce for the future.

The Industry's Image:

Improving the industry's image is crucial since the Automotive Retail sector hasn't always been perceived as glamorous. To attract top talent, a makeover is necessary! Companies can work on their public image that spotlight the rewarding and dynamic facets of working in this field. Emphasising the potential for career advancement, involvement with cutting-edge technology, and the thrill of connecting customers with their dream vehicles will create a positive image that generates interest and attracts more applicants.



The automotive industry skill gap poses significant obstacles to its growth and attractiveness. With an ageing workforce and a lack of specialised training programs, finding the skills needed in the automotive industry has become increasingly challenging. The ever-evolving impact of technology further exacerbates this skill shortage, making it crucial to address the issue proactively. By addressing the skills required for the automotive industry through tailored training for non-experienced candidates, we can bridge the skill gap and equip the workforce with the expertise to handle the complexities of modern vehicles and technologies.

Let's work together to drive innovation, build a thriving automotive industry, and create a skilled workforce that can meet the challenges of the future. To learn more about how MBA can help combat the skill shortage in the automotive industry, stay tuned for our next blog!

For further information on how MBA Automotive can assist you with your recruitment needs or any related inquiries, please feel free to get in touch with Harry Moores, the Automotive Account Director at MBA.



IMI: Automotive sector skills shortage sees job ads reach five-year high

LinkedIn: The Most In-Demand Technical Skills in the Automotive Industry

Penno tech: 5 Qualities of a Successful Automotive Technician


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