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Automotive

Overview

This page provides high level information and data on the Automotive industry.

The Automotive industry is broad and encompasses a variety of activities and businesses. These activities include repair and service of vehicles; retailing of vehicles; parts and tools; repair, maintenance, repair and service of bicycles, outdoor power equipment, marine vessels and motorcycles; and some non-car manufacturing.

Detail of the various sectors of the Automotive industry can be found on the following pages: 

Nationally recognised training for Automotive is delivered under the AUM Automotive Manufacturing Training Package and AUR Automotive Industry Retail, Service and Repair Training Package.

The relevant Skills Forecast for the Automotive industry is the Automotive IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast and the relevant Skills Service Organisation is PwC’s Skills for Australia Skills Service Organisation

There are five Industry Reference Committees covering the Automotive industry. They are:

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

Industry cluster snapshot

Employment and training snapshot

The census data indicates that in 2016 across all industry classes that have relevance to the Automotive industry there were just over 390,000 people employed. This figure is prior to the closure of the car manufacturing plants which will have some impact on this number.

The report, Directions in Australia’s automotive industry: an industry report 2017 forecasts some decline in numbers in the industry through to 2018–19, the end of their forecast period. They also calculated that 88% of the decline in numbers in the industry is a direct result of the closure of car manufacturing plants in Australia.  

It should be noted that some of the industry classes used to calculate the employment number from the 2016 census include activities that may lie outside of the Automotive industry, so the total employment number should be seen as indicative only. The precise industry classes used to calculate the employment number are shown in the data notes. More information on employment is shown in the sector pages.

There were almost 70,000 program enrolments across the two automotive related training packages in 2017, up nearly 14,000 from 2016. The vast majority of enrolments were in the Automotive Industry Retail, Service and Repair Training Package. There were also close to 15,800 program completions and just under 10,000 subject only enrolments reported in 2017.

As with program enrolments, the vast majority of apprentice and trainee commencements and completions were in the Automotive Industry Retail, Service and Repair Training Package. In 2017, there were about 11,600 commencements and a little under 6,500 completions.

For further breakdowns of the training data, please visit the sector pages.

 

Industry insights on skills needs

The Automotive industry is diverse and as such reflects differing skill needs. Despite the closure of the car manufacturing plants in Australia during 2017, there are still skill shortages across the breadth of the Automotive industry. The report, Directions in Australia’s automotive industry: an industry report 2017 estimates that nationally there will be a skills shortage of over 35,000 workers in the Automotive industry in 2017–18 and over 31,000 in 2018–19. This covers a diverse range of occupations. The largest skill shortages, covering about 85% of the overall forecast shortages for 2018–19 are in the following occupations:

Light Vehicle Mechanic (projected shortage of 14,799 workers)
Vehicle Spray Painter (2,653)
Panel Beater (2,634)
Motor Vehicle Salesperson (2,565)
Heavy Vehicle Mechanic (2,256)
Automotive Electrician (1,749)

The report also points out future skill needs of the industry in light of changes in technology, and in particular the greater uptake of electric, connected and autonomous vehicles. This has implications for upskilling in areas such as the software, coding and programming of these vehicles. There will also be a need for skills related to specialised functions in these vehicles. The skill needs are also reflected in the Automotive Industry Skills Forecast.

The Automotive Industry Skills Forecast 2018 provides a summary of the macro trends influencing the sector:

  • Technological change – This relates to changing automotive products, service delivery and consumer needs. This has consequent implications for skill needs and the training required for technicians.
  • Structural change – The industry has been faced with the closure of car plants and increased numbers of imports. There are also cost pressures on industry and variations in demand given the interdependencies to other sectors of the economy (such as mining, agriculture, construction and retail). This means there may be an increase in demand for technicians that can undertake a variety of roles.
  • Consumer preferences – Trends influencing the industry in this regard include concern for the environment, ageing of the population, increased discretionary income and technologically advanced vehicles. There has also been an increased demand in certain sub-sectors such as marine and motorcycle.
  • The regulatory environment – The Automotive industry operates within a regulatory environment which impacts on the operation of the industry. This requires skills in service and repair that involves technology stemming from emissions control, knowledge of consumer rights and also knowledge and understanding of regulation and regulatory changes.

The Skills Forecast also summarises employer challenges and opportunities in the Automotive industry:

  • Skills in emerging technologies are in high demand.
  • A lack of sufficiently developed level of diagnostic skills across the industry.
  • Skilled worker shortages across various areas of the industry due to technological advancements requiring learners with higher levels of STEM skills.
  • Structural changes within the Automotive industry has implications for cross-sector employment, or lateral movement of workers within the industry.

The Skills Forecast further identifies priority skills in the Automotive industry:

  • Foundation skills such as language, literacy, writing, numeracy and employability skills to operate effectively in the workplace.
  • Diagnostic skills to be able to identify a fault and to carry out the most appropriate repair action.
  • Digital literacy and technical skills required for specialist technical occupations.

Transferability of skills is also an important consideration in the Automotive industry, both across sectors of the industry and outside of the industry given restructuring in the industry.

The report The occupational mobility and skills transferability of Australian auto industry employees found that Automotive Production Workers had a variety of skills, specific and generic, that are transferable across industries. Non-production related Automotive Workers were found to have skills that were more likely to be transferable across occupations as they had less automotive specific skills.

The 2018 report Inquiry into electric vehicles by the Parliament of Victoria’s Legislative Council Economy and Infrastructure Committee noted that some of the skills that are needed for manufacturing electric vehicles and their component parts are transferable from conventional automotive manufacturing. However, in a submission by the VACC to the inquiry it was recommended that a certificate III level apprenticeship qualification should be created that deals with the service and repair of electric vehicles. The Committee noted that there could also be vocational qualifications for electric vehicle manufacturing. 

The sector pages provide more information for individual sectors.

Links and resources

Below is a list of industry-relevant organisations and associations. Hyperlinks have been included where available.

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Association of Australasian Diesel Specialists Inc (AADS)

Australian Association of Progressive Repairers

Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association

Australian Automotive Recyclers Association ARAA - Auto Recyclers Association of Australia

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Australian Industry Group (AiGroup)

Australian Maritime Safety Authority

Australian Motor Body Repairers Association (AMBRA)

Australian Refrigeration Council (ARC)

Australian Tyre Dealers and Retreaders Association

Auto Parts Recyclers Association of Australia (APRAA)

Auto Recyclers Association of Australia

Automotive Air Conditioning, Electrical and Cooling Technicians of Australasia (VASA)

Automotive Products Manufacturing and Exporters Council (APMEC)

Bicycle Industries Australia (BIA)

Boating Industries Alliance Australia

Boating Industry Association (BIA)

Boating Industry Association of New South Wales

Boating Industry Association of Northern Territory

Boating Industry Association of South Australia

Boating Industry Association of Victoria

Boating Industry Association of Western Australia

Bus Industry Confederation (BIC)

Business Council of Australia

Commercial Vehicle Industry Association Australia (CVIAA)

Construction and Mining Equipment Industry Group (CMEIG)

Cycle Sport Western Australia

Cycling ACT

Cycling Australia

Cycling New South Wales

Cycling Northern Territory

Cycling Queensland

Cycling South Australia

Cycling Tasmania

Cycling Victoria

Farm and Industrial Machinery Dealers Association of Australia

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries

Federation of Automotive Parts Manufacturers

Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia

Institute of Accident Assessors (IAA)

Institute of Automotive Mechanical Engineers (IAME)

Marine Queensland

Motor Trade Association of South Australia (MTA South Australia)

Motor Trade Association of Western Australia (MTA WA)

Motor Traders’ Association of New South Wales (MTA NSW)

Motor Trades Association ACT

Motor Trades Association of Australia

Motor Trades Association of Queensland (MTA Queensland)

Motor Trades Association of the Northern Territory (MTA Northern Territory)

Outdoor Power Equipment Australia (OPEA)

SAE-Australasia (Society of Automotive Engineers)

Tasmanian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (TACC)

Tractor and Machinery Association of Australia (TMA)

Truck Industry Council (TIC)

Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC)

Employee Associations

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union

Regulator

National Heavy Vehicle Regulator

Relevant research

Directions in Australia’s automotive industry: an industry report 2017 – Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce

The occupational mobility and skills transferability of Australian auto industry employees – Snell D, Gekara V & Schermuly A 2017

Inquiry into electric vehicles – 2018 report of the Parliament of Victoria’s Legislative Council Economy and Infrastructure Committee

Data resources and notes

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census – employment, income and unpaid work. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by 4 digit ANZSIC,
    • 2311 Motor Vehicle Manufacturing
    • 2312 Motor Vehicle Body and Trailer Manufacturing
    • 2313 Automotive Electrical Component Manufacturing
    • 2319 Other Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturing
    • 2399 Other Transport Equipment Manufacturing n.e.c.
    • 2461 Agricultural Machinery and Equipment Manufacturing
    • 2462 Mining and Construction Machinery Manufacturing
    • 2491 Lifting and Material Handling Equipment Manufacturing
    • 3501 Car Wholesaling
    • 3502 Commercial Vehicle Wholesaling
    • 3503 Trailer and Other Motor Vehicle Wholesaling
    • 3504 Motor Vehicle New Parts Wholesaling
    • 3505 Motor Vehicle Dismantling and Used Parts Wholesaling
    • 3911 Car Retailing
    • 3912 Motorcycle Retailing
    • 3913 Trailer and Other Motor Vehicle Retailing
    • 3921 Motor Vehicle Parts Retailing
    • 3922 Tyre Retailing
    • 4000 Fuel Retailing
    • 4231 Hardware and Building Supplies Retailing
    • 4231 Hardware and Building Supplies Retailing
    • 4241 Sport and Camping Equipment Retailing
    • 4241 Sport and Camping Equipment Retailing
    • 4245 Marine Equipment Retailing
    • 4245 Marine Equipment Retailing
    • 9411 Automotive Electrical Services
    • 9412 Automotive Body, Paint and Interior repair
    • 9419 Other Automotive Repair and Maintenance
    • 9419 Other Automotive Repair and Maintenance
    • 9429 Other Machinery and Equipment Repair and Maintenance
    • 9429 Other Machinery and Equipment Repair and Maintenance.

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Students and Courses, 2017 Program Enrolments by AUM Automotive Industry Manufacturing Training Package and AUR Automotive Industry Retail, Service and Repair Training Package.

AUM Automotive Manufacturing Training Package, and AUR Automotive Industry Retail, Service and Repair Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection.

Updated: 29 Oct 2018
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