On October 3rd, a very enjoyable day was spent in The Wing at Silverstone manning the NMA stand at the Motorsport Industry Association Jobs Fair. The NMA has sponsored this event a number of times as we passionately believe in the concept of applicants and companies meeting each other in less formal surroundings to size each other up before committing further. We also showed delegates how it was possible to earn a good Motorsport Engineering degree and be in employment at the same time!
We were in esteemed company this year, with Mercedes F1, Haas F1, Progressive Technology, Racing Point F1 and RaceStaff to name just a few. So what were they offering to the 600 or so delegates that turned up between 10am and 4pm?
Actual Motorsport Jobs!
Have a look at this first picture – that was the Jobs Wall. It was rammed with real, now, actual motorsport jobs! These companies are hoovering up skilled, quality engineers at a massive rate to feed the insatiable appetite for better, faster, more reliable race technology. This Autumn’s fair featured more jobs in motorsport than ever before!
A couple of years ago I blogged that there were 500,000 graduates of all types from Universities and UK racing businesses still could not get enough engineers. This year I went to talk to some of the exhibitors at the Jobs Fair and asked them about their recruitment plans, the qualifications needed, the experience needed and how that was shaping up with their ability to actually get these people. The answers to my questions surprised me – in both good and bad ways.
What are your current recruitment plans?
“We want more good people now”
“Ours is one of continual recruitment”
“We have vacancies in all departments”
What are the Qualifications needed for these positions?
“A good degree is a start”
“Masters as a minimum for this position”
“A good degree with lots of experience”
“Experience, experience and some more experience plus sound academic qualifications on top”
What experience is needed?
“Relevant or comparable is the minimum but there must be plenty of it”
“Same work, same stuff, probably with one of our competitors frankly”
“No experience, no interview”
Are you getting enough applicants?
“No, nowhere near”
“Applicants, yes but good applicants, no”
“Do you have a good applicant mine nearby?”
Who is your ideal applicant?
“Professional, up to date, experienced and well qualified”
“Good degree, good experience, good turnout and available now”
“Probably working for XXX right now”
So, what did I glean from my rather unsophisticated straw poll? There are plenty of good, no, excellent, positions out there.
- There are not enough of the right type of applicant to fill them
- That companies are looking at other companies staff to poach them if need be
- That a degree is the minimum qualification needed and a lot of positions on the Wall needed a Masters as well
- That relevant, quality experience is so valuable as companies do not want to start from scratch with new people.
This ties in completely with what we are hearing from our prospective and starting students here at the National Motorsport Academy – namely; “if I want to progress I need to get this degree as no promotions either in my company or externally are available to me otherwise” and “I think that this degree will double my value as it validates over 15 years’ experience”
To Have and to Have Not
More than ever there is a growing gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” – and I do not mean money, I mean qualifications and experience.
As part of our naming sponsorship of the Jobs Fair, NMA held two 30 minutes seminars about how a person can stay in the job they are in (and keep getting paid and adding to the experience) whilst earning a degree and giving themselves the best chance of career progression. Both were attended by some extremely keen and inquisitive delegates who could all see the benefits of staying in the jobs that they had taken so long to get; I believe there will be some cracking good new students in amongst them.
The Bottom Line
From the start of 2019 NMA have been offering a Masters (MSc) in Advanced Motorsport Engineering and the quality of the new students for this course has been exemplary. Each one of them needing to add to their qualifications to rise through their business or change their roles. Whilst I was speaking at the seminars, I took a large number of new enquiries for this course and as word gets out that we are offering it, the quality and quantity of applicants gets ever more exciting.
The inclement weather outside reminded us all that unless you are racing in sunnier climes then the season is almost over and as we were taking the stand down and wheeling the NMA Mosler back to the race truck we listened to the chat from the recruiters who’d attended. Every one of them indicated this had been a successful event but it had almost increased the level of frustration. Whispers of “We still need more people” and “I didn’t fill all the positions I had to offer”.
Over the past 5 years, one of the most common themes seen in response to our Facebook posts has been the lack of motorsport jobs. We’ve had trolls suggesting that we’re getting people to part with their hard-earned cash for nothing. People commenting that there are so few jobs in the industry it would be a waste of their time and money. What this October’s jobs fair proved was that there are more jobs for skilled and dedicated candidates than ever before and now is a great time to be in the UK race business! We’re seeing the top teams, at the highest levels of the sport, desperate for more workers and despite the uncertainty of the Brexit cloud, these teams are recruiting now!
If you’re sat there, as a mechanic, an engineer, even in a different industry, these teams need you! If you were ever in doubt as to whether a Motorsport degree would help your career, just read the responses above again! If you’ve been putting off applying, there’s never been a better time! MOTORSPORT NEEDS YOU!! Apply today!