The key news sources in our sector presented June as a mixed month, with challenges for young people in the post-pandemic hiring environment countered by better news for graduate pay, the continued march towards carbon-neutrality presenting opportunities for brands (and indeed prospective hires), and a celebration of women in the automotive sector – something we’re always ready to champion. Here are June’s big stories in our sectors.
This year’s Great British Women in the Car Industry
Autocar’s “Great British Women in the Car Industry” initiative was created to inspire more women to consider a career in the sector by shining a spotlight on successful female leaders and rising starts within it. Nominations are sought from around the industry and the top 100 lists in each category are selected by a panel that includes Autocar’s managing director Rachael Prasher and SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes.
This year’s overall winner is Hannah Denton, Area Fleet Manager for Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles UK. Other category winners include Samantha Anscombe (Aftersales and Workshop); Nicola Danks (Design); Barbara Garcia (Manufacturing), Lynsey James McCall (Operations) and many more.
F1: Mercedes might tinker after all, says new CTO
Toto Wolff’s message that Mercedes has stopped developing its car for this F1 season – which seemed to be at odds with Lewis Hamilton’s call for more work on the car – might not be as straightforward as it seems. At least that’s the suggestion from the team’s new Chief Technology Officer.
Incoming James Allison, who officially takes up his new role on July 1st, has suggested that the current World Champions, who are lagging behind title rivals Red Bull so far this season, will still tinker with their setup in an effort to gain some competitive advantage. While Team Principal Wolff has made it plain that his priority at factory-level is performance discovery for the 2022 season, Allison has said his team has “a reasonable number of things that are going to make our car faster in the coming races” and has suggested Wolff’s ruling out of any development at all on this year’s car may be gamesmanship.
Take-off for Rolls-Royce’s electrification plans
Rolls-Royce’s next big powerplay is sustainable aviation markets. The prestigious brand looks set to pioneer sustainable aviation power, developing energy storage systems (ESS) that will enable aircraft to undertake zero emissions flights of over 100 miles on a single charge.
It will invest £80m in ESS over the next decade, creating about 300 jobs by 2030 as it strengthens its position as the leading supplier of all-electric and hybrid-electric power and propulsion systems for aviation. The brand has serious ambitions in electrification, aiming to provide a complete electric propulsion system for platforms from eVTOL to commuter aircraft.
Manufacturing & Technology
Construction firm Henry Boot targets net-zero by 2030
Sheffield construction firm Henry Boot has launched a new Net-Zero Carbon Framework, featuring commitments to switch to electric vehicles (EVs) and phase out diesel generators. It aims to achieve net-zero for its “directly controlled emissions” (including power-related emissions) by 2030, with a 60% reduction in absolute emissions.
It will launch a full fleet and generator renewal programme and a sustainable transport policy shortly, aiming to reduce business travel by a fifth, and has pledged to switch to 100% electric models for all fleet cars and vans this decade, with a programme in development for heavy goods vehicles.
Exec & Leaders
Apple hires Ulrich Kranz as it revives electric car project
Apple has hired Ulrich Kranz, a former BMW executive and the recently departed CEO and co-founder of EV start-up Canoo, as the brand shifts back to developing an electric, autonomous vehicle. After a series of revisions to its autonomous project in which the tech giant appeared to move away from the idea of building an entire vehicle and instead focus on autonomous technology, its mission to build a car is back on and Kranz will play a key role.
A respected automotive executive, Kranz spent many years at BMW Group where he launched the all-electric i3 hatchback and hybrid i8 sports car. He was later approached to help transform the fortunes of struggling EV start-up Faraday Future with fellow BMW executive Stefan Krause, before co-founding Canoo.
Kranz will work on Apple’s electric car under Doug Field, the former Tesla executive who runs the day-to-day operations of the project, codenamed “Project Titan”.
The post-pandemic era and graduate hiring
A Department for Education survey has found that young people in England are the demographic likely to be hit hardest by job shortages caused by the pandemic. Unemployment among recent graduates aged 21 to 30 has risen to levels last seen during the austerity era, peaking at 6.3% in 2020, after gradually falling over nearly a decade since a peak of 6.5% in 2012, in the middle of the coalition government’s austerity drive.
The report suggests that the employment of young people is disproportionately influenced by changing structural conditions in the economy, with employment rates fluctuating slightly more for the young population compared with the working-age population between 2007 and 2020.
However, there is some good news: pay rates for graduates who succeed in finding a job have held up, with graduates aged 21-64 being paid an average salary of £35,000 – nearly £10,000 more than their peers who did not go to university.