We recently interviewed 57 automotive professionals about their thoughts surrounding Covid-19’s effect on the automotive industry right now.

This included their thoughts on how they felt the situation has been handled so far by the government, how they envisaged the future and how they felt their current or previous employer has handled the pandemic in relation to their own career.

We were inundated with many passionate responses surrounding this matter and we have selected a broad range to demonstrate the overall feeling coming from the people whose livelihoods have been directly affected by the pandemic.

 

 

Key Insights

  • 37% are unemployed
  • 49% are employed
  • 9% are furloughed / part furloughed
  • 5% were categorised as something else

 

  • 74% are worried about their future in the automotive industry

 

  • 72% believe the UK government could be doing more to help the automotive industry get back on its feet.

 

  • 58% would consider reskilling in order to take another job
  • 23% would potentially consider reskilling in order to take another job
  • 16% would not consider reskilling in order to take another job
  • 3% said it did not apply to them

How do you feel the UK government has handled the pandemic overall so far?

We started by asking the professionals how they felt the UK government has handled the pandemic so far.

 

  • 23% believe the pandemic has been handled very badly
  • 9% believe the pandemic has been handled badly
  • 30% were indifferent in how they felt
  • 24% believe the pandemic has been handled well
  • Only 7% believe the pandemic has been handled very well
  • 7% made no comment

 

We went on to ask the professionals to elaborate on why they felt the UK government has handled the pandemic so badly. This is what they said:

 

“Contradictory rules, based on no logic. Boris is an absolute shambles who can’t even brush his hair or do up his buttons correctly.”

 

“They only care about themselves and making friends richer.”

 

“No consistency.”

 

“Very unnecessary job cuts and job rescheduling. Too many experienced people now without jobs.”

 

“The furlough retention scheme worked for the younger workforce, but for the older workers has acted as a way to retrim the workforce for when it is all over.”

 

“If the lockdown had happened earlier and was stricter, the economy could have been affected less.”

 

“Absolutely useless, ignored science, failed to attend cobra meetings. Tried to approach with herd immunity which backfired massively.”

 

“I got sacked due to Covid, couldn’t get another job during lockdown, & couldn’t get ANY financial support whatsoever. Gone into thousands of pounds of debt due to the government’s lack of support.”

 

“Made redundant with very few jobs available.”

 

“Refusal to extend furlough despite most of Europe doing so.”

 

There was a fairly even split on how automotive professionals felt the pandemic has been handled so far. From the 31% who believe it has been handled well, this is a selection of the responses as to why:

 

“Given the circumstances, the government dealt with the situation as best as they could and I don’t think any other government would have handled the situation any better!”

 

“They are doing the best they can.”

 

“This is an unprecedented situation and it is easy to be wise after a situation. Things in hindsight could & should have been done differently, but would anyone else have done better?”

 

What do you think needs to happen for the automotive industry to return to ‘normal?’

We then went onto ask the professionals what they believed needs to happen for the automotive industry to return to pre-pandemic levels. This is a selection of the responses. 

 

“The motor trade has been badly affected by Brexit and Covid. The UK government has repeatedly refused to accept that the motor trade needs extra help for 2020 and beyond that to ensure people stay in work.”

 

“Too many cautions to worry about. If you can go into a supermarket without any real worry, what’s the difference…? Why are dealer groups still reporting large profits to the detriment of staff/job losses…?”

 

“They should give a helping hand to ease the tax system.”

 

“Patience. People still need to purchase vehicles and have them maintained so trade is still out there while people still have money in their pockets. Our industry needs temporary financial help like all others at this time.”

 

“More funding for the automotive industry. Or COVID to disappear. But they’re both as unlikely as each other unfortunately.”

 

“Government to release a long term strategy on vehicle road tax and secure a good deal on import and export on Brexit.”

 

“Furlough scheme extended to prevent mass redundancy.”

 

“Shift to electric vehicles and make them more affordable. Set up more facilities for fast charging throughout the nation.”

 

“The issue is one of purchaser confidence based on their own situation. If the populace is scared of the future they will hold off any purchases whether this is a car, a service, a repair, a house or a washing machine. Without the consumer confidence the auto industry is collateral damage.”

 

“Get the heads of industry together and discuss what’s needed. We bailed the banks out in 2008, so let’s help other industries.”

 

“The government needs to stop treating Covid as if it’s a nuclear war or a zombie apocalypse… Their response is massively over the top for the threat level. Covid is nowhere near as dangerous as they are making out and their over proportioned response has brought the country to its knees.”

 

 

How do you feel your current / previous employer has handled the pandemic in relation to their employees?

Our final question was to ask the professionals how they felt their current / previous employer has handled the pandemic in relation to their employees. We were pleased to see that 56% expressed it was between average and very good.

 

  • 30% said very bad
  • 10% said bad
  • 23% said average
  • 10% said good
  • 23% said very good
  • 4% made no comment

 

Since March, there has been a lot of negative media reports surrounding employers and their employees.

However, there are many employees who believe their employers have handled the pandemic well, yet these rarely make headline news.

We are keen to put a spotlight on the good work and efforts taken by many employers within the industry. These are a selection of the positive stories and comments we received:

“We were looked after very well. My employer kept us up to date with all the legislation and took all the precautions to keep us all safe and looked after us financially.”

 

“Paid over the minimum furlough and support on return financially.”

 

“Systems in place to protect staff and customers.”

 

“Cleansing was in place before we entered the factory and once inside, keeping distance was priority. Meetings were called regular to remind people of the Covid-19 risk.”

 

“All the measures for social distancing were in place. Also hand dispensers available at every workstation. They have done all they can.”

 

“We have all been looked after and everything has been clear as to what is going on.”

 

“We’re updated daily on what to do and what to follow. Handled it better than the government.”

 

However, the dark side of Covid-19 has resulted in many being made redundant. From the 40% who believed their current / previous employer has handled the pandemic poorly, this is just a selection of the reasons as to why they feel that way.

 

“It was a way out for him and to gain funds from the government.”

 

“They got rid of me and are now advertising for new staff.”

 

“Just a poor example of how to reduce costs by the way of redundancy. Just absolutely appalling.”

 

People have been made needlessly redundant putting massive pressure/stress on remaining staff. If a full time position was needed before, it is still needed now. We are now being pressured into working even quicker which encourages corner cutting and longer hours which increases fatigue and mistakes. Burn out will happen at some point.”

 

“No PPE or protection provided until 4 months into the pandemic.”

 

“Kept telling us we would come back to work, pushing the deadline back and then made us redundant.”

 

“New staff employed and I am in the process of being made redundant.”

 

“I got made redundant in March, no furlough or anything, just gone. They then advertised my old job two weeks later at a lower rate of pay. They blamed Covid for all of this.”

 

“Unfair redundancy. Made decisions too soon.”

 

“He said all along he was in no way going to make redundancies… then boom! A third of the staff is gone.”

 

 

While there have been a lot of opinions expressed within this article, some you may agree with, some you may not, but we believe it is important to give a voice to the people who are directly being affected by the pandemic.

We believe this article represents a true reflection of the mood within the industry right now, whether that be positive or negative.

 

 

A Message from the InAutomotive Team

To all the automotive professionals interviewed, we’d like to thank you for your stories and frank opinions. To those made redundant, we sincerely hope change is around the corner to alleviate the troubles you are currently facing.
While things are difficult at the moment, there are still career opportunities out there, many which are published daily on InAutomotive.
We wish you all the best.

 

Further Information

The statistics and opinions in this article are based on an InAutomotive survey of 57 aviation professionals from October 2020.

Please note that the views expressed in this article reflect those of the individuals interviewed entirely. They do not reflect the views of the InAutomotive or any of its team.

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