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Industry news roundup - April 2018

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Welcome to our monthly roundup of all the news that’s grabbed our attention from across our industry.  

Future Tech

Movies and work monitors - coming soon to a windscreen near you, says Harman CEO.

Dinesh Paliwal, CEO of Harman Samsung, has shared his vision of the future of electronics and other tech advancements in the automotive sector. Harman was bought by Samsung last year for $8bn and Paliwal forecasts more strategic partnerships between tech super giants like Google and Apple and businesses in the supply chain, in the race for full connectivity and technical integration.

Meanwhile, Samsung predict that the automotive electronics market could grow to $100bn over the next seven years, which will include sensors, software, computing such as infotainment, telematics and data, sensors, lidar, night vision cameras and cloud-based software. Paliwal believes that in ten years’ time there will be 100 times more screen area in the average car, with front and rear screens becoming interactive – connected to your work monitor or I-MAX. The future is mind-blowing!

Motorsport

Big brands continue to join Formula E

Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche have joined the formula E line-up. With a growing roster of world-class manufacturers joining the electric series, it appears to be going from strength to strength. This is an area that fascinates us; Formula E is the new testing ground for the technologies of tomorrow, and an opportunity for the manufacturers to show that they’re at that frontier. The will and investment required to enter the series means that manufacturers are taking alternative powertrain technology very seriously indeed.

Automotive

Volvo’s performance set to electrify its largest market

Meanwhile, Volvo wants half of its car sales to be electric by 2025, which shows continued commitment from OEMs to invest in this technology. This is a play for the massive Chinese market – both the world’s largest car market and a major participant in the development of “alternative fuelling” - by the Swedish manufacturer.

Volvo will “place electrification at the core of its future business”, which means the brand is well-placed for increasing its already substantial success in China: the Beijing government has set a target of Alternatively-fuelled Vehicles (AFVs) to comprise 20% of new car sales by 2025.

At Gerrell & Hard we are increasingly involved in supplying related AFV skills sets and solving hiring challenges in this technology.

Graduate

Look out, big business: your gender pay gap is losing you graduates.

The gender pay gap is doing little to inspire female graduates and it’s time sizeable employers took notice.

The deadline for affected companies to report their gender pay gap has now passed (April 6th, for businesses with 250 employees or more), resulting in some uncomfortable reading for employees of numerous organisations including the BBC, Ryanair, HSBC and Deloitte, to name but a few.

And it was as bad as we feared it would be, with the difference in UK hourly wage at over 18% between genders.

A recent study of 500 graduates by student career app Debut has found that a third of female graduates “won’t apply to companies with high gender pay gaps”, while a further 59% would feel uncomfortable doing so – as would 51% of male graduates.

This could develop into a serious problem for companies as they compete to hire the next generation of graduates. The productivity and skills gap means strong graduates will be in a position to make choices, but 84% of female graduates in the Debut study felt companies with high gender pay gaps lack integrity. This is at a time when the latest generation to enter the workforce rates company values as particularly important. Big business, you have been warned.

Exec/Leaders

Who better to revamp VW’s brand than a former brand manager?

Former brand manager Herbert Diess has been appointed as the new CEO of Volkswagen, and will restructure the business in the wake of the emissions scandal. The business will split its brands into value, premium and super-premium categories. Diess is described as a “man of action” and considered a good choice by industry analysts, after former Chief Executive Matthias Muller was ousted by Volkswagen directors for failing to refocus the group in line with its new strategy for cleaner cars.

This is a really exciting development for a brand that has struggled with its image; we will watch the new direction of Volkswagen with interest as it creates new business areas and revamps its strategy.

Manufacturing and Technology

Gender pay gap gives engineering a problem…and an opportunity

The manufacturing and technology space must face up to the challenge of correcting its own gender pay gap, with over 70 engineering-related companies in the UK paying men at least 35% more, on average, compared to women.

About 80% of UK companies who qualified for the compulsory reporting (see above) have a gender pay gap.

According to Royal Academy of Engineering CEO Dr Hayaatun Sillem, the pay gap reporting has provided “further evidence of the serious issue of the under-representation of women in engineering,” and a lack of women in senior levels.

It hasn’t escaped our attention that this news chimes with our chosen article about graduates and the gender pay gap, above. The lesson for the industry is clear: if the UK engineering industry is doing all it can to encourage more women into the fold, there’s an opportunity here to take the lead on a key issue that can win kudos with female graduates:  equal opportunities for senior employment.