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The automotive industry: Talent development and hiring

Recruitment | 6 Min Read

Automotive industry: Talent development and hiring

Digital transformation in the automotive industry

The global automotive industry is undergoing an unprecedented transformation in terms of motor vehicles’ design, experience, and durability. Over the next decade, a significant shift will be observed in designing autonomous, electric or hybrid, and connected vehicles.

According to ABI Research, 30 million connected motor vehicles were on the road in 2020. Even with a decline in sales, 37% of new vehicles in Latin America, 51% of new vehicles in Asia Pacific, and 91% of new vehicles in the USA were connected.

However, an increase in technological advancement has also soared consumer demands for improved engagement and experience. These factors are driven by focused and accountable leadership and passionate frontline talent. As a result, the automotive sector is looking to attract and nurture top talent.


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New technology in the automotive industry is giving rise to new skills

In 2020, General Motors announced its investment of US$35 billion to develop and sell only autonomous and electric vehicles by 2025. The manufacturer’s transformative strategy is proof that the global automotive market is proceeding toward clean, autonomous, and connected technology.

To help bring this change and support leading technological advancements, the automotive industry leaders require top talent. Many continue to utilize outdated methods and pursue consultants, freelancers, or commission-based workers. However, today’s top talent requires flexibility, reliability, autonomy, and growth opportunities.

For example, a Mercer | Mettl client in the auto industry faced challenges defining a standardized recruitment process. They wanted to hire and laterally move employees according to cultural and technical fitment across existing business hierarchies. Mercer | Mettl created a customized psychometric assessments battery for them containing cognitive, personality, and behavioral tools. These assessments were used at five proficiency levels to gauge senior managers, team leads, individual contributors, etc.

As a result of hiring process standardization, the client could eliminate traditional subjective measures. Their hiring team could make scientific decisions backed by data, significantly reducing time-to-hire.

New hiring methods and integrated talent management in the automotive industry are a product of new skills emerging in this sector. Here’s an overview of technological advancements in the auto industry that may help organizations advance and grow in the future:


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Big data and data analytics

The ability to collect and utilize masses of data for actionable consumer information helps create individualized and customized incentives and offers for customers. It improves customer retention and boosts lead conversion.

Data gathered from the automotive supply chain helps identify weak links in the chain. Thus, ensuring countermeasures before challenges affect the process.

Further, predictive analysis data for maintenance and performance becomes a powerful tool in gauging the operational efficiency of fleets.

Connected vehicles

Connected vehicles are equipped with advanced tethered and embedded systems that help send and receive information, connect with other devices, and download software updates.

For instance, cars with internet connectivity have an embedded chipset for Wi-Fi connectivity.

Many connected vehicles are built with security features to enable SOS for roadside assistance, breakdown, or other unforeseen events.

Leading technologies like Google Android Auto and Apple CarPlay additionally allow using smartphone functionalities without touching or picking up the phone.

Autonomous vehicles

Autonomous vehicles, popularly known as self-driving cars, are equipped with automated functionalities, such as emergency brakes, cruise control, blind spot identification, and high-precision maps.

Emergency braking systems, for example, automatically activate the car’s brakes to stop or slow down when a pedestrian or another vehicle is in the way. The use of advanced computer vision and 360-degree view enhances the accuracy of this system.


Is the automotive industry prepared for this massive shift?

The auto industry can meet the rising talent demand by upskilling and empowering the current workforce or hiring professionals with strong technical knowledge.

A LinkedIn report discloses that 64% of L&D leaders believe reskilling and upskilling their existing talent is a priority in a post-pandemic world. Further, 66% of L&D leaders in the study highlight that they may focus on Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VLIT) to improve learning outcomes and ensure efficiency.

Another LinkedIn report, Building the Agile Future, explains that the skillset required for different job roles has evolved and transformed by 25%, and this number might double in the next four years.

The same report underlines that career progress is the top motivation for encouraging employees to upskill and learn. Around 93% of businesses worry about lowering employee retention rates and are willing to address this gap with better, advanced learning opportunities.

According to a Career Addict survey, 82% of employees would consider other job opportunities due to a lack of career progression at current jobs.

These statistics hint at a movement towards a culture of learning and development.


How can companies prepare for this transition?

A Mercer | Mettl client wanted to identify high-potential employees who could successfully move to departmental head positions. For this, we conducted a comprehensive sensing exercise to identify key competencies and related behaviors for the job role. Virtual Assessments and Development Center (VADC) by Mercer | Mettl was utilized for online and offline assessments. This included tools like personality, behavioral, and cognitive assessments to gauge behavioral traits, attention to detail, and emotional stability of employees.

It helped the client determine key strengths and development areas of the current workforce to identify successors for important business roles.

In a similar manner, identifying best practices to shortlist, attract, nurture, and retain top talent in organizations helps them thrive and succeed in the coming years. A summarized explanation of practical steps for businesses to become high-performance organizations and attract leading talent are:


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A firmly linked talent strategy


Business leadership, including CEO, CXO, and CHRO, working together helps create a firmly linked plan combining strategic talent management requirements. Preparing talent hiring and development strategy based on these factors adds a value proposition for existing employees and potential hires, giving a competitive edge to the automotive businesses.


Rise of strategic HR leadership


Technological advancement has increased the strategic involvement of HR leaders in business success. Automotive suppliers require HR leaders to ensure the correct deployment of employees who effectively complete their core tasks and fulfill their responsibilities as future leaders.

The rise of strategic HR leadership would also mean adopting strategies utilized outside the industry to empower people’s managers. For example, talent management and development assessments to ensure accuracy and reliability in automotive recruitment and internal movement of employees.


Transformation to an agile organization


Transforming to an agile organization helps automotive suppliers align cross-functional and empowered teams. These teams foster a culture of rapid learning, cross-functional training, and peer learning cycles. This model helps build passionate teams, improves decision-making, and uncovers organizational potential.


Digital tools for talent identification


Digital tools ensure the collection of valuable data during workforce planning, sourcing, selection, onboarding, and L&D. Data collected at every stage of talent acquisition, or L&D, helps reach granular details of organizational capabilities and strategic needs.

Mercer | Mettl’s suite of assessments at the talent selection stage identifies skilled professionals according to the organization’s competency framework. These tools ensure transparency, process reliability, accuracy, and efficiency.

Assessments are accompanied by real-time reports that highlight value-generating processes, candidate experience, and candidate relevance in a job role.


Integrated skills development


Integrated skills development ensures talent retention and drives business success in the long term. Upskilling and reskilling helps employees identify their current strengths and weaknesses, work on specific goals, and improve future relevance in the industry.

Reskilling and upskilling tools by Mercer | Mettl help HR leaders highlight skills gaps and understand employees’ learning agility and training effectiveness. For instance, skills gap identification discloses skills required for varied job roles in the organization. Building these skills allows the business to thrive and increase personal employee growth.


Measuring competencies

Competencies are individual employee characteristics that help them succeed in a job role. Therefore, measuring competencies is the primary method of assessing employees’ job role success and cultural fitment.

Mercer | Mettl measures job competencies in the following way for an assessment:

Personality: It is a combination of a professional’s innate and inherent behavioral traits. It analyses their attitudes and reactions in challenging situations.

Cognitive abilities: A measure of a professional’s critical reasoning, logical reasoning, and fluid intelligence. Their reasoning ability to utilize current and acquired knowledge to solve challenges logically.

Behavior: An assessment of a professional’s situational intelligence, behavior in difficult circumstances, and ability to stay calm.

Technical aptitude: A measurement of a professional’s technical skills, ability to handle business cases, and utilize technical knowledge in the job role.

Key facts about Mercer | Mettl assessments:

  • Globally accepted standardized question inventories for the auto industry.
  • Customized assessments for unique specific organizational requirements.
  • Quantitative and qualitative data reports to meet clarity and reliability requirements.
  • Success profiling to identify core organizational competencies through focused group discussions and interviews.
  • Behavioral questions that imitate challenging and critical workplace situations.



The auto industry is experiencing a shift to ground-breaking technology that will change the future of vehicles across the globe. Whether it is connected cars commonly seen on roads today or autonomous vehicles gaining popularity, multiple advancements will impact auto recruitment in 2023. Using empowered recruitment strategies and integrated talent development methods can help prepare businesses for future success.


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Originally published May 25 2023, Updated May 26 2023

Written by

Vaishali has been working as a content creator at Mercer | Mettl since 2022. Her deep understanding and hands-on experience in curating content for education and B2B companies help her find innovative solutions for key business content requirements. She uses her expertise, creative writing style, and industry knowledge to improve brand communications.

About This Topic

Talent assessment is the practice of assessing talent before making critical organizational decisions, such as hiring, development, promotions, etc. Talent assessments evaluate a candidate’s skills, knowledge, personality, behavior, and work style to future-proof an organization’s business interests.

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