“We have realised engineers should be taken in R&D, production and planning — where there is more cerebral work.”
Although manufacturing is still to shake off its fuddy-duddy employer image, the auto sector is changing gears to enter the fast lane.
While auto major Mahindra & Mahindra is gauging its employees' auto passion with a quiz, auto component manufacturer Tube Investments is giving its engineers an opportunity to do ‘more cerebral work.'
Although manufacturing will take some time to regain the charm it lost to IT, the auto industry is surely revving up to make its work environment appealing to young talent, says Mr Abdul Majeed, Auto Practice Leader, PwC.
The industry is also equipping its talent with the right skills.
“Auto majors such as GM, Ford and Suzuki are sending their Indian employees to centres of excellence abroad for training.”
Apart from sending engineers to manufacturing plants abroad, Tube Investments, a Murugappa Group company, is also encouraging people at the shop floor to ideate, which is something new for the group, says Mr L. Ramkumar, Managing Director.
The company now has people who have moved back from IT.
“We have realised engineers should be taken in R&D, production and planning — where there is more cerebral work. The idea is to give engineers a challenging technology or academic job rather than routine supervision, which can be done by operators. The first 3-5 years of their careers, youngsters want interesting work.”
Auto major Mahindra Rise initiated the Auto Quotient quiz to measure a person's auto passion which helps build a strong culture and capability among its employees.
It started ‘curiosity, observation and action' workshops for product development teams. Ideas from here have been incorporated in Xylo and XUV 500 designs.
The Mahindra quiz also aims to act as a tool for employer branding in campuses.
Mr Majeed says although the R&D spends of Indian auto industry is just 1 per cent of its overall revenues (compared to the global 3-4 per cent), things are changing. “GM and Ford are setting up R&D bases in India. Local players like Tata Motors are also keen to boost their R&D activity.”
Mr E. Balaji, Managing Director and CEO of HR consulting firm Ma Foi, points out that even compensation levels have changed to narrow the gap between IT and auto sectors. “Earlier, it was a 30-35 per cent gap, now it's about 10-15 per cent, making the industry more attractive for youngsters.”