The world and beyond – Surviving in the economic jungle

Advice, tips and tricks on how to engage with the UK jobs market and commercial environment, from a female executive's perspective

Unipart #Automotive and its loyal employee base – A recruiter’s view

leave a comment »


goldfishesThe UK automotive parts aftermarket distribution sector is a complex market where people are concerned.

I have always thought of it as a large fish bowl, with the same number of fishes vying for a limited amount of space in a confined environment. Getting into the fish bowl is very difficult, and getting out can be even harder. Everything that happens inside the fish bowl is very visible to everyone outside, and if one fish gets ill it can effect the whole ecosystem.

The current news of events at Unipart Automotive is typical of this.

So how is all of this impacting on recruitment and jobs in the motor factoring sector?

In fact, the initial external impact has been very small. So far!

Unipart Automotive has been a long-standing, highly respected and somewhat iconic brand in the parts aftermarket. They have always invested well in their people. Many employees have long service records, and there is a very loyal employee base that has given the company stability over the years. It has been a safe, secure and supportive working environment for a lot of people. I believe that this investment is now being repaid with well-earned loyalty.

Despite all the negative news, uncertainty and an apparent lack of communication, Unipart’s loyal employee base are holding fast.

One would expect a flood of CVs and job seekers at the first bit of bad news. So far, this has not happened.

I have not seen an increase of Unipart employees applying to all the branch based roles I am advertising. I have had a few phone calls from worried people and past contacts who want to assess their chances of getting new jobs. But overall, the real risk of not having a job if things really go belly up, seems to be weighed against the chances of a buyer being found. Hope against hope, Unipart Automotive employees are waiting for salvation.

The overriding current response I am seeing seems to be one of disbelief and shock, although the company has been in general trouble for a long time now. The lack of news or communication is compounding this, and instead of mobilising the workforce they appear to be stupefied and paralysed. Sooner or later, the begrudging acceptance  that their job security is hugely compromised will have to start sinking in. But for now, on the whole employees seem confused and uncertain, not knowing what the immediate future will hold but compelled by loyalty and trust to sit tight and wait for a miracle to take place.

This is a real testament to Unipart Automotive as an employer. The values they have instilled in their employees are now prompting staff to keep fighting the good fight, in the face of a very limited and debilitated trading environment.

Whilst salaries are being paid, I believe that this will continue and there will not be a mass exodus.

However, as soon as the big news hits or they can no longer sustain staff payments, there will be a massive influx of candidates on the jobs market. This will have a massive impact on all employers and recruiters in this market. There is always a war on for talent, but supply and demand needs to be managed as in any other market. 1,600 desperate job seekers flooding in will immediately drive salaries down, increase the cost of administration and totally de-stabilise the market. It will also protract the current skills shortage, in the long term.

The industry has an aging population and not much appetite for trainees when there are ready-skilled people available to hire. My concern is that hiring will take place willy-nilly, plugging current gaps but causing a bigger succession problem in the future.

My heart goes out to every Unipart Automotive employee at the moment. I do hope that there is some solution found that will allow a paced transition rather than a flood. This will be the most positive outcome in a market that is already reeling with change on a daily basis.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Written by Cathy Richardson

July 11, 2014 at 9:46 am

Posted in Recruitment

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: