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Two-thirds of automotive sector employees fear COVID-19 job losses

Lee Biggins CV Library

Over two-thirds of automotive industry professionals fear that the impact of COVID-19 coronavirus could cause them to lose their job.

The recent ‘AM COVID-19 car retail recovery survey’ heard from car retail group operators who feared that over 30% of the sector’s workforce could fall foul of the slump in trade and changes to operational practices enforced by the pandemic.

While detail of that survey will be published in the forthcoming digital edition of AM, the CV-Library has laid bare more widespread concerns from across the automotive sector with its latest survey.

According to an exclusive new study from the independent job board, two-thirds (69.2%) of automotive professionals are worried about losing their job during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The study surveyed 1,408 professionals and found that 25% of automotive professionals were on furlough, 40.6% were still working and 34.4% were unemployed.

Job security emerged as a major concern for those currently furloughed on the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), however.

CV-Library found that 51% of automotive professionals who are on furlough have expressed concerns that there may not be a job available for them once the scheme is over.

The statistic highlights the need to for car retailers to keep their employees informed and engaged during their absence from the workplace.

In an interview with AM earlier this month Cambria Automobiles chief executive, Mark Lavery said said that he expects “Darwinian evolution” of the car retail sector with up to 25% to 30% of car retail businesses to go out of business or be taken over within the next two years as the effects of the pandemic continue to take their toll.

Furthermore, he conceded that “over 100 redundancies” are possible within his car retail group when the Government's coronavirus job retention scheme’s (CJRS) furlough period ends.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a week ago that the CRJS would be extended to October – it its full 80% (up to £2,500-a-month) rate.

But this could lengthen the period of uncertainty for some car retail workers as employers put-off redundancy decisions to see how well the sector recovers from lockdown.

One car retail group boss likened the choices made in returning staff to work to “picking the school football team” and suggested that the longer retailers choose to phase the return to work process, the bigger impact it will have on the morale of furloughed employees.

“I want my team coming back like tigers, ready to embrace the challenge of getting the business back up to speed,” he said. “I’m really conscious of the phycological impact of coming back, and on those that are left on furlough for a longer period as their colleagues return.”

Commenting on the findings of the CV-Library study, Lee Biggins, the founder and chief executive of CV-Library, said: “We’re living in very strange times and this is impacting people at all levels. The government is doing its best to get the economy moving again, but this is going to take time and a lot of professionals are struggling with the uncertainty.

“Indeed, our data shows that the majority of people who are still working or on furlough are worried about job security.”

The study went on to ask respondents whether they believe the company they work for will suffer due to COVID-19, with 81% of automotive professionals believing that it will.

This was far higher than the national average, where a smaller 54.5% of UK workers felt this way.

Biggins said: “A huge volume of professionals in the automotive industry don’t know whether their employer is even going to weather the storm and some organisations are going to suffer more than others.

“As a result, we’re expecting to see a real shift over the next 12 months in terms of what people want and need from their job; especially in the absence of pay rises and promotions.

“Following such an uncertain period, more professionals will want to work for employers that can offer some sense of job security, especially as the pandemic will have a long-lasting impact on the economy.” 

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