Electrification: The impact on skills in motorsports

How is electrification impacting the availability of skills in motorsport?

Ben Evans, Head of Business Development, FMC Auto Innovation at FMC Global Talent
Ben Evans, Head of Business Development, FMC Auto Innovation at FMC Global Talent

Electrification has caused a huge shift in the availability of skills. As more and more organisations get involved in the switch to electric, the demand for skills is only set to increase. So what has caused this and what’s being done to solve the skills shortage? 

A brief history of skills 

Back in 2007 the biggest technology in the F1 space was the KERS system, creating an exciting time for engineers to get into the motorsports market and develop their skills. Between then and 2013 saw a period of further technological developments that provided fresh demand for skills in the space. Now, the push towards electric has changed the landscape again.

There’s been a move from purely F1 companies developing these systems to major automotive manufacturers also wanting a slice of the pie. This means that talent that previously worked in motorsports companies was suddenly up for grabs by all different kinds of manufacturers. This has meant that motorsports companies have needed to adapt to keep attracting the right skills.  

In-demand skills 

A wide variety of skills and biases are needed because of the electrification revolution.  

  • Electronics Engineers are needed to look at the hardware, software and power electronics 
  • Electrical Engineers and designers are required for the electrical architecture 
  • Mechanical Engineers are still very much needed when it comes to the complex and intricate rotor 
  • Materials related skills (such as electrochemists and those specialising in composites) are needed as systems became increasingly complex 
  • Test and Development engineers with experience of hybrid engines and transmissions are becoming even more sought after than their mechanical counterparts 

You can find out what these engineers typically earn here.

How has electrification impacted the acquisition of these skills? 

Electrification has made the task of attracting skilled talent even more tricky. Emerging technologies, such as the ECUs for electric vehicles require skills that previously haven’t existed in the space.  

Not only has the type of skill changed, but so has the competition for them. This is becoming increasingly fierce as companies are in a race against time, and one another, to get the best talent on board to help them lead the electrification revolution. We’re seeing a landscape where OEMs like BMW and Renault are vying for the same talent as newer entrants like Rimac and Dyson. There is more demand than ever before for skills that exist in short supply for emerging technologies. 

No longer do motorsport companies compete between one another for talent, now they compete with a huge amount of other companies too. 

You can find out more about electrification and the effect it is having in our free insight report here!

What is being done? 

Many companies are going down the route of taking fresh talent, directly from education. With nearly 80,000 young people beginning engineering and manufacturing apprenticeships in 2016/17, we’re seeing a huge uplift in this as a way to get those much-needed skills in the workplace. The partnership between the University of Bath and the IAAPS centre is a fantastic example of the technical partnerships we are seeing between industry and educational institutions. 

The development of skills is also becoming ever more important. Initiatives like the High Value Manufacturing Catapult show how they are being nurtured and developed.  

Want to know more? 

FMC Auto Innovation have taken a look at how electrification is impacting the world of motorsport in our latest insight report. You can download Electrification and the Skills Impact | Part 1 | Motorsports here!