The Automobile industry in India, which includes design, development, manufacturing, repairing and sale of cars, two wheelers, three wheelers, as well as trucks, buses and tractors has witnessed a sort of upsurge over the last few years and continues to boom to even today. According to Wikipedia, India’s automobile industry is the ninth largest in the world and the country was the fourth largest exporter of automobiles in Asia last year. India is a favorite investment destination for international auto-makers, many of whom have set up their manufacturing divisions in the country opening a whole one vista of job opportunities for engineers.
A profession of opportunities are available to fresh engineers depending on the specialization of their degrees including mechanical, automobile, production and electrical. Broadly, the field offers a variety of jobs in the research and development, manufacturing, design, sales and services and components manufacturing segments.
The automobile industry is volume driven and requires a certain critical mass for attracting the much needed investment in R&D and new product design and development. Investments in the R&D segment are imperative for innovations that are crucial for achieving and retaining competitiveness. Thus, increased attention is being paid to research and development in India. The Industry is stressing on inventing new products ad designs with increased frequency. Companies are scouting for fresh talent and fresher ideas. Another focus area of growth is product improvement that involves power unit research, emission control, vehicle simulation and testing and prototype validation.
Generally engineers with a postgraduate qualification are absorbed into R&D activities in the industry. Development of new products and improvement of exiting products and processes are focus areas in research centers. This segment offers immense scope and flexibility for new entrants. For instance, a trainee engineer on the shop floor may be transferred into sales and services, subject to his potential and aptitude.
A number of automobiles firms are keen to hire engineers in their sales department because of their technical expertise and the resultant ability to deal with increased consumer awareness. Engineers are also recruited for jobs in vendor management and development, which essentially deal with purchases. Freshers are trained in this segment through the Graduate Engineer Trainee programs so as to be able to possess the commercial sense to negotiate deals.
A career in automobile manufacturing usually begins on the shop floor and requires one to manage and supervise it. Plant process improvement is one of the goals of all major competitors in the industry. Supply chain management is another area of interest for job seekers dealing with logistics and optimization of value.
One may serve at different levels of the production unit depending on one’s academic qualifications and experience. Freshers can be absorbed to work in growing fields such as robotics supply chain management or operations as per their specialization and aptitude. On the manufacturing front, one would handle operations such as procurement material handling and quality control.
With several large global manufacturers entering the Indian market and existing manufacturers looking towards upgrading their capacities the component manufacturing segment too offers a number of lucrative opportunities. Greater variety in vehicles is offering challenges to the manufacturing capabilities and economies of scale of component suppliers. The high growth in the auto component sector is expected to lead to an additional 750,000 direct jobs in its sector along with indirect employment of 1.8 million people over the next 10 years.
One may set up one’s own workshop or garage, or even become manufacturing vendor for large automobile companies. A management degree may come in handy if you are planning to drive solo in the long run.
Students should have both, the aptitude as well as a genuine interest in the job they take up. Commitment is crucial for building a successful career in this industry. Additionally a solid technical base and CAD / CAM skills in Pro-E, Catia and AutoCAD are indispensable for a career in this sector. Lastly, companies generally look to hire engineers with a positive and hard working attitude as well as good communication skills.
Engineers from most streams such as mechanical, automobile, electrical and electronics are hired by both Indian as well and global automobile industries. Diploma holders and graduate engineers are usually absorbed into the shop floor and other areas. A postgraduate degree in any of the above mentioned engineering fields would come in handy for those specifically interested in pursuing a career in the R&D segment.
One may pursue a BE / BTech / ME / MTech (MTech, Auto, Electrical, Electronics) from any recognized university to enter this field. Candidate with a diploma in the above mentioned engineering branches or those having completed an ITI / MCVC course too may find opportunities at lower levels of responsibilities. Additionally few job profiles require IT / finance specializations. Additional courses pursued from The institute of Cost and works Accountants of India (ICWAI), may add to your resume. Awareness of cost accounting may prove beneficial for an engineer since the maximum possible cost minimization is achieved at the design and manufacturing stage itself. Freshers can expect an initial remuneration of Rs three to 3.5 lakh per annum.
Beginners may get placed on campus or may apply directly. Certain projects such the national Automotive Testing and R&D Implementation Project (NATRIP) and the Bajaj, SAE India encourage the corporate world to recruit young talent straight from college competitions. The HR teams of major automobile companies scout for fresh, sincere and technically strong engineers at such platforms.
The automobile industry is booming but your career is only as good as you wish to make it. A good performer rises through the ranks fast. Though, initially the growth may be lateral one is sure to climb up the ladder with experience. The industry on the whole provides bright prospects and good opportunities in terms of learning and experience.
1) Indian Institute of Technology (IITs)
2) MH Saboo Siddik College of Engineering, Mumbai.
3) Vishwakarma Institute of Technology, Pune
4) Indian Institute of Automobile Engineering, Jamshedpur.