With Indian auto industry likely to increase its headcount by 50-lakh by 2012, human resource (HR) managers of all auto majors are busy upgrading their skills and preparing hiring road maps for their organisations. As workforce across auto industry all set to multiply, the challenges before HR teams is to create a stronger employer brand and high employee engagement. “Many automobile manufacturers are on the speedy road to expansion now. It was imperative for organisations to adapt to mega trends, develop new strategies for the workforce, and also align, inspire and engage employees by showing them the bigger purpose and creating a win-win climate with workers,” Society of Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) Director General Dilip Chenoy told The Hindu.

Pointing out that rural prosperity and improved infrastructure are major factors that have resulted in the growth of the auto industry, Mr. Chenoy said while these factors were creating opportunities for companies to reinvent themselves in form and spirit, employees remain a critical factor in making this happen in actuality. SIAM, which will be organising a major HR conclave next month, says employment in the auto sector would nearly double from the current 1.3-crore to 2.5-crore by 2016. Interestingly, even foreigners are increasingly becoming part of the Indian auto sector.

According to Maruti Suzuki’s Managing Executive Officer (Administration- HR, Finance and IT) S. Y. Siddiqui, “The industry association strongly feels that all three segments in the auto industry — original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), suppliers and service providers — will be hiring in a big way in the next few years.”

Similarly, Mahindra & Mahindra Executive Vice-President (Human Capital) Prince Augustin said the industry wanted to improve the talent pool at the ground level. Top companies are, therefore, looking at increased capital expenses and improved training modules for shopfloor employees. All this is towards increasing the talent base as well as enhancing the capability levels.

“After the meltdown internationally and the relative stability in the Indian markets, some engineers of Indian origin, who were working for U.S. carmakers, have returned to India. They bring in a wealth of knowledge and experience. Foreigners are also making their presence felt in the Indian automobile sector. Going forward, India may see large numbers of the best of such professionals making a beeline for India. This inward flow of talent is heightened by the large scope of opportunities in the Indian auto sector and the industry will benefit tremendously from such global talent,” Mr. Augustine added. Similarly, Hero Honda’s Senior Vice-President (HR) N. N. Akhouri said SIAM was trying to increase the employability of people — currently at a low of 25-30 per cent as against 50 per cent in developed nations — by adopting government-run ITIs. As of date, SIAM has partnered 78 of these institutes, while it aims to add 22 more to bring in a total of 100 ITIs under its care.

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