New Delhi: India’s rapidly growing auto industry is likely to face an acute shortage of skilled workers over the next five years.
The Indian auto industry could suffer a shortfall of 3.9 million graduates, 0.6 million engineers and 0.75 million personnel with vocational training by 2012, says a recent report by the Confederation of Indian Industry and Boston Consulting Group.
“We do feel the pinch of getting adequately trained manpower at the shopfloor level,” says Shekhar Vishwanathan, deputy managing director at Toyota Kirloskar Motors Pvt. Ltd, which makes premium sedans and utility vehicles.
Toyota, preparing to launch its small car in December, has put in long-term measures to address this shortage of trained people. Three years ago, it set up the Toyota Technical Training Institute, an in-house training school at its factory in Bidadi, Karnataka—the first of its kind for Toyota anywhere. The first batch of 64 graduates is set to join its plants in June.
Graphic: Paras Jain/Mint
Sales of cars, trucks and two-wheelers in India have grown at 17% a year since 1991, according to the Automotive Mission Plan, a government roadmap for the sector. But in 2009-10, the sector grew at 25%, making the shortage in personnel more acute. By 2016, India’s auto industry will need an additional 25 million skilled hands, according to consultancy Ernst and Young.
“India has a growing young workforce and the biggest challenge we have is appropriate education and skill development,” says Pandiyan Vairamani, vice president, human resources, Ford India Pvt. Ltd.
The company is constantly looking for new ways to attract talent and could consider making use of radio to get workers, he says. Ford plans to add 1,000 workers this year as it prepares to start a second shift in June, partly due to surging sales of its new small car, Figo.
Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, the country’s largest car maker and among the earliest to realize the impending shortage of workers, says it has invested in building a strong human resource base. The trick lies in training, says S.Y. Siddiqui, managing executive officer, human resources, at Maruti. The company has increased its training budget to Rs12 crore from Rs7 crore last year.
“Some companies have not tried to groom their employees and that is where the problem arises,” says Siddiqui.
Still, Maruti had to hire eight design engineers from overseas last year. Another batch of seven foreign designers are to join in May.