45,000 Automotive Industry Employees – What’s your career strategy and when do you start?

With the steady decline of automotive manufacturing in Australia, those working in the industry should already be asking themselves “what’s next for me?” and “when should I start to become active?”

Announcements from Ford (2016), Holden and Toyota (both 2017) that they will cease their Australian manufacturing operations mean there will be a surge of job hunters hitting the job market before we know it. There are approximately 29,000 people employed in the components sector alone and according to the Federation of Automotive Products Manufacturers, up to a further 250,000 jobs are “derived from activities which support the manufacturing of cars in Australia”.

So where will all these people go?

If you’re working in the industry and expecting to leave, you should be aware that it could take a year or more to change industries or to secure a similar paying role. Typically the higher your remuneration, the longer you can expect to be in the job market.  Unfortunately, a lot of employees have worked only within their industry and fail to recognize that they may well be competing with a few hundred applicants, including colleagues, for the jobs that remain in the automotive space. The problem we have outlined previously about online job searches is that interviews tend to go to those with industry experience or relevant qualifications.  So consider your networks.

If you choose to hold on to the very end to get a redundancy package, you should be actively networking at least 6-12 months prior to leaving. Consider looking at other industries where your skills may be transferrable and do your research to see what companies are out there. Consider your interests and who you know. Start making calls and asking to catch up with others you need to meet to find out more about the industry, what skills are in demand and whether a transition into their industry is feasible. Investigate what other qualifications you may need to pursue to make yourself marketable for a change in industry.

When you’re networking, remember, you’re simply trying to get a picture of what else is out there, not asking for vacancies. Start to think about your resume and what your achievements have been.

If you’re in automotive, the best advice we can give is to get some professional career management assistance. Too often we meet new clients who took a substantial redundancy package, took a holiday and a few months off to renovate their home, and then suddenly weren’t able to get an interview. Then they went looking for help with a 6-12 month gap on their resume. Start early, and get a plan in place for your transition and you will be far more able to confidently approach the job market and you’ll end up reemployed sooner.

Posted by Scott Spaulding

BonnieSue Nevin

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