Transforming Human Capital for a Digital World in the Automotive Industry

Executive Summary

Various digital disruptions and trends are impacting the Automotive industry

  • Product disruptions and new internal delivery models have a significant impact on the value chain and the characteristics of the OEM’S workforce in term of size, shape and skills.
  • In future unnecessary capabilities combined with new, more challenging tasks will lead to a decrease of number of employees and a skill change from traditional competences to new topics.

The automotive workforce will shift dramatically – in size, shape and required skills

The future of OEMs

Demand evolution of the Automotive workforce in the next 5-10 years


The reduction in total workforce will be driven by automation within R&D, Aftersales, and Financial Services, making reskilling in a number of functions necessary


Activity-based analysis specific to the organization’s distribution of employees across the value chain is required to provide specific projections

Processing tasks have the highest potential for automation across all value chain elements, whereas creating will be impacted the least


  • In general, future automation will have a higher impact on white collar than on blue collar jobs – blue collar jobs are already highly automated.
  • Along the whole value chain processing tasks have the highest potential for efficiency gains due to automation.
  • Herefore process automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning are the main drivers.
  • Efficiency gains regarding deciding tasks can be achieved by improved decision support, e.g. through data analytics.
  • Interacting tasks profit from new communication technologies.
  • Creativity will be hardly replaced by automation.
  • Moving tasks are mainly blue collar jobs and therefore offer only small efficiency improvements based on future automation.

The scale and rate of change means traditional workforce planning must be replaced by a more dynamic approach to workforce transformation


And workforce strategies need to be re-imagined as to enable the transition of the organization and its workforce to the new digital era


And workforce strategies need to be re-imagined as to enable the transition of the organization and its workforce to the new digital era


This can only be achieved through close collaboration and alignment between the various stakeholders


Phase 1 builds alignment around the future workforce vision

Identifying the trends impacting your workforce

A plethora of trends are impacting both the demand for and the supply of talent. Beyond the digital: demographic, organisational and environmental trends require consideration.

Key success factors: Systematically considering of all the potential factors impacting the workforce, including those unleashed by the organisation’s future business and digitisation plans.

Evaluating potential scenarios

The speed of technological change means that business strategies can rapidly be overtaken.

Key success factors: Evaluating potential scenarios beyond those envisaged by the current business plan.

Assessing the impact of identified trends

Business plans and wider trends will impact the workforce in different ways across the value chain.

Key success factors: Qualitatively assessing how the impact of each factor will be felt across the value chain.

Building alignment

A wide range of preconceptions and expectations of the impact of technology typically exist.

Key success factors: Establishing a shared and common understanding across leadership team regarding the workforce for the future, and assessing the organisation’s change-readiness.

We assess the impact of external trends and internal strategies across the value chain of each line of business

  • Identifying the trends impacting the workforce.
    • Comprehensive view of trends ensuring all potential impacts are evaluated.
  • Assessing the impact of identified trends.
    • Granular translation of line of business (LOB) strategies and external trends into workforce needs across the value chain.
    • Interviews and working sessions with key staff, benchmarking, iteration with LOB,
      HR and support functions.
  • Evaluating potential scenarios.
    • Assessment of potential scenarios beyond the current strategy via research on peers and relevant disruptors.
  • Building alignment.
    • A deliberate convergence process for building buy-in and alignment across leadership strata via iterative development process involving key stakeholders.
    • Assessment of change-readiness using proprietary tools to identify the organisational capacity for change.

In phase 2 we quantitatively map the current and forecast the future workforce before evaluating the options to address identified gaps

Map the size, shape and skills composition of the current workforce

A lack of awareness regarding the current workforce often hampers data-driven
decision making.

Key success factors: Having a robust process to map the current workforce into a standardized schema to provide a clear picture of the current headcount and skills across the organisation.

Forecast the future talent demand and supply gaps

The rate of digitization and industry disruption will impact the future demand for talent whilst internal workforce dynamics (attrition, progression, aging) impacts the supply.

Key success factors: Accurately quantifying both the demand for, and supply of, FTEs and
skills under different scenarios.

Structured evaluation of strategic options to address identified gaps

Digital tools are increasingly blurring the boundaries between internal and external talent pools (including freelance, partnership and crowdsourced talent).

Key success factors: Taking a structured approach to assessing which talent pools are most suitable based on factors such as criticality, trust and ability to replace.

We forecast FTE and skills gaps for each job family under different scenarios


We use a structured framework as starting point to determine which potential talent pools can be utilized


The strategies and actions for transitioning to the future workforce are designed in phase 3

Design workforce strategies for optimising talent pools

Design the specific strategies for accessing, managing and enabling performance across the identified talent pools (from Phase 2).

Key success factors: Identifying the optimal approaches for engaging with different talent pools and developing compelling Employee Brand/Employee Value Propositions and associated organisational changes (structures, leadership, culture).

Implement technology to enable the seamless access to all talent pools

Technology will enable companies to access and manage new talent pools expanding the availability of critical skill sets and enabling a more flexible organization.

Key success factors: Implement technology in close collaboration with the desired workforce strategies so that it supports, rather than dictates, how work gets done.

Building an integrated transformation plan

A holistic Transformation Roadmap is required bringing together the workforce strategies and associated organizational changes.

Key success factors: Building the Roadmap and gaining buy-in from the range of stakeholders (central and local) who are accountable for delivery in the overall transformation and
individual initiatives.

Workforce strategies must be systematically applied across all talent pools to create a seamlessly accessible talent ecosystem


Delivering the transformation combines robust program management with mechanisms for managing change and engaging internal audiences

Executing the Roadmap

A Smart PMO function provides the cornerstone for delivering the Roadmap.

Key success factors: Providing not only coordination but also content as well as problem-solving and change management capacity and capability.

Delivering the transformation and building engagement

A comprehensive engagement and communications strategy appropriately targeted to all impacted employee groups; training on the new technology platforms for all users.

Key success factors: Understanding how the change impacts each employee group and rolling out a structured engagement and communication strategy that enables two-way communication to harness the input and influence of on-the-ground employees.

Leadership coaching and support

The ability to provide targeted leadership coaching to support leaders in the context of the highly challenging nature of delivering large-scale transformations, pertaining to change in and of people.

Key success factors: Achieving the right cultural and personal fit between coach and coachee, for individuals to find and realise their individual style, and to act and react authentically and appropriately, to deliver the transformation.

The dynamic nature of the change process is addressed by step‑by‑step implementation of pilot projects


Mercer & Oliver Wyman combine deep industry expertise with the capabilities to guide and enable digital transformations and their workforce implications

Unparalleled Automotive expertise and track record

Widely recognized as influential thought-leaders, Mercer and Oliver Wyman draw upon our expertise from executing a broad variety of client projects along the entire value chain as well as our own in-depth industry research crystalized in numerous reports and publications.

Deep understanding of technological change and how it is impacting business

Mercer and Oliver Wyman develop transformational business strategies for CEOs and business leaders to manage threats and channel disruptive forces for growth, and we blend digitization and industry expertise to determine the impact of technological change as well as gauge digital readiness along each step in the value chain.

Uniquely positioned to bridge the gap to HR strategies through our partnership with Mercer

With specialist global HR consulting expertise and market-leading people strategy capabilities, Mercer integrates proprietary research, market intelligence, tools and rigorous analytics to inform workforce transformations as well as talent strategies.

Strong expertise in data and analytics

Together with Oliver Wyman’s Digital, Technology, Operations and Analytics practice Mercer can provide deep business insights using next-generation data science and analytics techniques, among which, data engineering and monetization, Big Data architecture as well as Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.

Proven ability to manage and enable complex digital transformations

Utilizing Mercer’s and Oliver Wyman’s Organisational Effectiveness practice has deep expertise in designing and enabling change, informed by more than 200 transformation program projects; this is complemented by diverse technical delivery capabilities required for enabling digital transformations delivered by OW Labs.