What does the future of work hold in store for the auto industry?
The International Labor Organization(ILO) has published a report entitled; What does the future of work hold in store for the automotive industry? The automotive industry is a sector of prime importance for the ILO, not only because of its economic weight but also because of its history. Since the days of Henry Ford, the evolution of this industry in terms of work organisation, modes of production and technology has often served as an inspiration for other economic sectors.
The report concluded that the industry is currently undergoing profound changes. From the rise of emerging economies and the development of new mobilities (such as car sharing or car pooling) to the increasing “digitalisation” of production and the need to build cleaner cars, these changes will no doubt have an impact on the quality and quantity of jobs in the future. The report finds highly contrasting trends in the different geographical areas covered, which differ according to several factors such as regional development patterns and institutional and political contexts for example.
In Western Europe and the USA, restructuring processes are, to a very large extent the consequence of the relocation of production to Eastern Europe and Mexico have led to a downward adjustment of jobs and labour conditions: wages stagnated, pressure for more labour flexibility increased and the labour force became more fragmented. The report also looks at how manufacturers are restructuring their production subsidiaries, and research and development centres, to respond to the demand from emerging markets. The report concludes that technological solutions are developed locally and often imply domestic suppliers. This might have an important and positive impact on the development of local skills in R&D and production.