Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is planning to hire an extra 5,000 engineers and technical staff in the next year in what will be viewed as a major boost to the UK economy ahead of Brexit.
The recruitment drive, will see the UK’s biggest car business – which produced 544,000 cars on its British production lines last year – increase its domestic workforce by almost 15pc to 42,000.
Owned by India’s Tata JLR has been a leading light in the renaissance of Britain’s car industry for the last five years. New designs have received positive feedback globally, and the vast bulk of production is sold overseas, making JLR one of the UK’s largest goods exporters.
JLR is the latest big corporate name to bolster its UK presence since the Brexit vote, following Apple, Google and Facebook.
Innovation is leading this recruitment as the desire for electronic and software engineers to develop increasingly complex systems such as self-driving “autonomous” vehicles and electric transmission systems is crucial. To find the right calibre of staff JLR is turning to digital technology, joining forces with the band Gorillaz and using an app to recruit tech-savvy staff into a thriving industry.
This app has a code-breaking challenge and those who successfully decipher it will be fast-tracked through the JLR recruitment process without the traditional CV appplication. It is a gateway to show skill and creativity while hopefully appealing to women as JLR hopes to increase female representation in the industry.
Last year, Jaguar unveiled the I-Pace, its first battery-driven car, and it has a team competing in the Formula E electric racing series, a test bed for innovative technologies.
JLR has been at the forefront of Britain’s automotive renaissance over the past five years and last month the company posted record revenues of £24.3bn, 9pc up on the previous year with global sales of 604,000 cars.
Alex Heslop, JLR’s head of electrical engineering, said: “As the automotive industry transforms over the next decade we will have to attract the best talent and that requires a radical rethink of how we recruit,”
“This is a way to recruit a diverse pool of talent in software and cyber systems, app development and graphics performance.”
A lack of British engineers could mean JLR will recruit further afield, defying concerns that once Britain leaves the EU companies will struggle to bring in skilled staff from abroad.
Advances in autonomous and electric cars mean the industry is expected to evolve quickly. With technology giants such as Apple and Google entering the sector mean the stakes are huge.
“Cars are becoming massively more complex and about software,” said Professor David Bailey, a car industry expert at Aston University. “JLR is increasingly a technology business with a car company attached. With the growing importance of autonomous cars it is not surprising they are seeking out this sort of talent.”
Prof Bailey added: “Recruiting so many staff is a huge vote of confidence in the UK as a place to develop cars. JLR has to recruit the best talent no matter wherever it is – the company already has operation in Silicon Valley – and it are ready to bring the people they need here, and I expect that includes from the EU too.”