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We have to attract young graduates in our businesses

There's a troubling lack of interest among students—they don't want to become automotive engineers for a few probable reasons:

  • As the young generation is less interested in owning a car, the idea of being in the car industry might also hold less interest; not many engineering students dream of engineering refrigerators, either. They might see the evolution of computers, smartphones, and other e-devices as a more attractive arena where it's easier to innovate.
  • They might be interested in sectors like banking and finance that appear to offer higher salaries.
  • They might have expectations and a relationship with the work world at large that are very different to those of past generations.

Nevertheless, the vehicle lighting world's need for engineers is growing. The ZKW Group's workforce grew enormously between 2015 and '16, especially in the R&D departments—see more detail in this week's news.

Given this situation, then, what's to be done? Here are some ideas:

  • Continue internationalisation of companies, which makes them less sensitive to economic cycles and offers international careers in multicultural environments.
  • Stoke the love of the car: demonstrate through conferences, contacts with schools, publications, and our communications that we are not an ageing or boring industry. Have a look at the list of DVN Reports published since 2008, for example.
  • Trumpet the positive outlook for the automotive product. The automotive sector has been going through a renaissance over the last few years: electrification, advancements in sensors and algorithms, autonomous cars are the key impetus. Tech companies—established and startups alike—now target automotive as their next big market.

In the vehicle lighting field there is a great need for engineers. We must educate and train them. Programs like ELS are stepping up to do just that, and all of us can help in this effort, then we'll all see the fruits of that labour in the form of eager new talent.

Sincerely yours

DVN President

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