Automotive industry sustainability is a hot topic right now. Between the EU’s recent agreement to phase out combustion engine car sales across the union by 2035, and the introduction of stricter business sustainability reporting requirements, it is certainly an area you need to act on.
But there is another key reason for sustainability action, one that directly impacts your company’s bottom line. It can be a highly useful tool to both attract and retain top Automotive Engineering talent, especially given the industry’s current talent shortage.
Here we explore why, along with some suggested strategies for showcasing your sustainability efforts to retain and attract talent.
Why a Commitment to Sustainability is So Important
There are many reasons why committing to, embedding, and showcasing your sustainability endeavours is paramount for company success in today’s world. Let’s consider the main ones:
The Automotive Industry Mandates It
The EU ban on combustion engine car sales by 2035 forces all automotive companies to commit to sustainable manufacturing. But the European Council and European Parliament also recently agreed to a Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive. It not only introduces a certification requirement for sustainability reporting but stricter company reporting rules about sustainability efforts (primarily in a quest for greater transparency).
Customer Demand is Ever Rising
The electric vehicle market is on the up and up, a clear sign that tech-forward and eco-conscious consumers are voting for sustainability with their hard-earned money. According to the government industry, over 650,000 new plug-in cars were registered in the UK since 2010, while over 1 in 7 cars sold in 2021 had a plug. Charging infrastructure has expanded quickly to meet demand with over 25,000 public UK charge points, as well as over 4,700 rapid devices. This makes it the largest rapid charger network in Europe.
It’s Important to Top Automotive Engineering Talent
According to a recent Engineering Today report, close to 20% of engineers will retire or be close to it by 2026. The millennial generation is the one to replace them, as it is by far the largest current UK generation cohort (at last count, approximately 14.26 million millennials).
One of the hallmarks of this generation is their desire for a more sustainable world, and this extends to the companies in which they work. A global IBM Institute for Business Value study of more than 14,000 employees and jobseekers found 71% viewed environmentally sustainable companies as ‘more attractive employers’, and nearly half would accept a lower salary to work for them.
In addition, YouGov’s Future of Work Report found close to 80% of millennials and Gen Zs would consider the environmental impact of a company or sector when choosing a job. Potential new talent won’t be afraid to ask you about your sustainability goals, or the strategies you have in place to address climate change. If you don’t have the right answers, you might lose them to a greener competitor.
Ways to Showcase Your Sustainability Endeavours to Attract and Retain Talent
The aforementioned statistics show the merits of demonstrating your business sustainability to attract and retain Automotive Engineering talent. As sustainability can take many forms, what follows are some ways to ensconce it within your company and showcase these as a key part of your employer brand.
Build A Long-Term Sustainable Strategy
Delve into whether you have thought about sustainability across all your business processes. This should include implementing sustainable solutions, having a measurement mechanism in place, and planning for transparency, especially along your supply chain.
Commit to Source and Use Environmentally Conscious Materials
Audit your current list of suppliers, including the logistics partners you use. Consider their practices and how sustainable they are, for instance, do your delivery suppliers optimise their loads to reduce emissions? You may also like to check whether they adhere to fair labour standards.
Seek Sustainability Feedback from Current Employees
A recent Corporate Climate Crisis report from PLAY surveyed 1,000 UK employees and business leaders about sustainability initiatives in their company. While 82% of leaders believed businesses should support employees in making sustainable decisions, only 38% of employees said that their company supported them in making changes.
More and more employees are beginning to question their employers about not just their automotive manufacturing processes but their business sustainability as a whole, being quick to also offer suggestions.
As you engage in this process, you may discover your sustainability champions. These passionate employees can be your greatest change, brainstorming ways you can make an environmental difference, whether it’s a small process tweak to reduce inefficiencies or something larger about your business strategy.
Embed Sustainability into Your Culture
By making sustainability a central tenet of who you are as a business, as well as how you do business, you can position yourself as an employer of choice. It’s highly attractive for new talent who are after more than a pay packet and want to work with a company making a difference.
One way is to embrace disclosure in your communications about what you have done sustainability-wise, as well as what you want to improve upon in future. This engenders trust not just in your current employees, but in potential candidates too, helping them see you are willing to do more than just talk about change, but implement it too.
Business sustainability is multifactorial and takes time, commitment and resources to implement. But the rewards are tenfold, especially when it comes to retaining and attracting talent who place high importance on working for a company that is steadfast in addressing climate change.
As an Automotive Engineering specialist, we understand the value of placing sustainability at the forefront of your business. Please let us know if we can support you in taking up this challenge, whether it’s taking the sustainability pulse of your current employees, or sourcing new engineering talent.