As the automobile industry shifts gears from ICE (internal combustion engine) to electric vehicles, a talent crunch has been witnessed across the sector. In order to bridge this gap, Tata Motors, the country's largest electric vehicle manufacturer, is planning to upskill 50% of its workforce in EV and AI (artificial intelligence) technologies via various programmes and partnerships with universities, according to a senior executive of the company.

Acknowledging that there is a huge shortage of talent in the software, AI, and connected, electric, shared and safe (CESS) EV space across the automobile industry, Sitaram Kandi, vice president, HR, Passenger Vehicles and Electric Vehicle says it will take few years to bridge this gap. However, until that time, there is huge talent war in these areas, he adds.

Elaborating further on the multi-pronged strategy to retain talent by Tata Motors, Kandi says, "Earlier, the company used to hire employees with mechanical background. But now we are making the switch. So now all our existing employees have the opportunity to transition from mechanical engineering to auto electrical engineering." In FY23, the company invested ₹25 crore and 3,40,000 hours in upskilling its staff.

According to the company, Tata Motors is sponsoring B.Tech, M.Tech and executive MBA opportunities in auto electrical engineering in collaboration with various universities including BITS Pilani, DY Patil University and Oxford Polytechnic, amongst others.

"With a focus on capability-building being critical to navigate through the rapid technology advancements and changing market dynamics, Tata Motors has adopted a holistic approach to upskilling. Specially curated training modules address the requisite developmental needs of all - from shopfloor technicians to line engineers, and plant management," says the company. The company plans to hire 25% of new hires as women. It already has its Pune plant, which manufactures Safari and Punch, with an all-women workforce.

The company has also started an apprenticeship programme for ITI/12th-pass students. Under the programme, the students are offered hands-on training on in-demand skills like mechatronics, IoT (internet of Things), robotics and AI. "Over 88% of successful passouts are working with channel partners. The percentage of registered women participants in FY24 has more than quadrupled from FY22," says the company.

According to Kandi, the automobile industry has a retention rate of 10-12%. Of this, the retention rate at Tata Motors is below the industry level. Kandi, however, dismissed concerns of job cuts owing to evolving technology such as AI. According to Kandi, any technology, if used in the right way would lead to an increase in productivity, market share, penetration rate, more volumes and more jobs.

Notably, Shailesh Chandra, Shailesh Chandra, Managing Director, Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles Ltd and Tata Passenger Electric Mobility Ltd had earlier told Fortune India the company is aiming for a 50% market share in EV segment by 2030.

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