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Euro Projects Recruitment Business Leaders Zoom Call 16th November Summary - Impact of Covid-19 and Brexit on UK & Global Auto Industry

George Gillespie

Stephen Brown

Euro Projects Recruitment Business Leaders Zoom Call

For Manufacturing, Engineering, Technology, Transportation & Logistics Professionals

HR & COVID-19 Update + The Impact of Covid-19 on UK Automotive Industry with Dr George Gillespie OBE

Summary of Key Points: 16th November 2020

Covid-19 & Business Update

Stephen Brown from Euro Projects Recruitment

Thank you for attending our latest, now 27th Business Leaders Zoom Call, bringing you the latest information relevant to navigating the latest challenges in business.

We are seeing a slight softening in demand following resurgence in business over the summer but things are more or less returning to pre-Covid levels with some notable shifts in the type of people being recruited:

Ian Yoxen, Senior Partner with EP Executive LLP

Mob: 07970 749069

Ian Yoxen is Senior Partner in our Executive Search business, with some interesting insights to share:

These are the busy sectors I am recruiting for at the moment:

Suppliers into

  • Building products,
  • Medical equipment,
  • suppliers into Automotive, Rail and Off-highway vehicles.

I’m recruiting at mid to senior level for:

  • Production Operations
  • Supply Chain
  • Technical Sales  

I’ve also been sharing INTERVIEW QUESTIONS BEST PRACTICE with my customers.  Three valuable questions they are asking are:


  • You were made redundant due to Covid…who else was made redundant?
  • What other jobs have you been applying for?
  • What is it that attracts you to this job with us?

This is helping to weed out the B-Players and identify the A-Players.  

Stephen Brown:

The latest report from Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee which last met on 4th November indicates the following key points:

  • BoE will maintain interest rates at 0.1%
  • “There are signs that consumer spending has softened across a range of high-frequency indicators, while investment intentions have remained weak.”
  • Twelve-month CPI inflation increased to 0.5% in September, but remained well below the MPC’s 2% target
  • CPI inflation is expected to remain at, or just above, ½% during most of the winter, before rising quite sharply towards the target as the effects of lower energy prices and VAT dissipate
  • “Household spending and GDP are expected to pick up in 2021 Q1, as restrictions loosen.”
  • “Over the remainder of the forecast period, GDP is projected to recover further as the direct impact of Covid on the economy is assumed to wane.”
  • The unemployment rate is expected to peak at around 7¾% in 2021 Q2. Beyond that point, spare capacity is expected to be eroded as activity picks up, and a small degree of excess demand emerges over the second half of the forecast period.
  • The extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and new Job Support Scheme will mitigate significantly the impact of weaker economic activity on the labour market.

With news on the practical application of the extended JRS and the wider impact of Covid-19 on employment and associated legal issues, we are delighted to welcome our regular legal expert Helen Dyke from Irwin Mitchell, what’s new Helen?

Furlough & Employment Law Update:

Helen Dyke, Senior Associate Solicitor, Irwin Mitchell LLP

DDI: 0121 214 5242

Mobile: 07435966985

Many aspects of the extended JRS are similar to the previous scheme, but there are a few surprises to be aware of, including a deadline of 13 November for furlough agreements to be in place.

The government has advised anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable to work from home. If they can’t, they are told not to go to work – we discuss the options that employers have, if staff can’t work from home, in the bulletin below:

The government has indicated that organisations won’t be able to use the furlough grant to contribute towards notice periods if staff members are made redundant after the end of November.

Euro Projects is grateful to Helen for this information and a special offer for contacts of Euro Projects, which has been offered by Irwin Mitchell with discounted rates for buying ‘banks of hours’ for legal support, please contact Helen Dyke for more information.

The Impact of Covid-19 on UK & Global Automotive Industry:

Dr George Gillespie MBE, Executive Chairman of Horiba MIRA, President of SMMT & Chair of the Intelligent Resilient CAV Group within the UK Automotive Council

In our last call we heard about the devastating impact of Covid-19 on the UK aerospace sector. Another sector which provides significant employment and economic prosperity in the UK is the automotive sector, in April a record for car production was set for all the wrong reasons with fewer than 200 cars produced against an average of over 150,000.

With the recovery still taking place and longer term issues of vehicle electrification to cut emissions impacting how the future shape of the industry will look, we are delighted to have Dr George Gillespie OBE, Executive Chairman of Horiba MIRA, President of SMMT & Chair of the Intelligent Resilient CAV Group within the UK Automotive Council join us to share his views and perspective.

First of all George, can you share what life for the industry was like leading up to the pandemic and its subsequent impact?


  •          Pre-Covid – Industry driven by technology trends, regulatory and societal drivers
  •          Pre-Covid - Automotive facing 4 key drivers:
  1. Automated driving – autonomous
  2. Connected – cyber security
  3. Electrified – away from carbon and lightweight
  4. Shared economy – peer to peer – ride sharing or similar
  •         Most organisations working on these trends and agendas, that was pre-Covid
  • ·         Regulatory – emissions is now the main focus.
  •          Automotive sector not always considered environmental ‘Diesel gate’ etc.
  •          But George 30 years in the industry– all have been spent on trig to reduce emissions
  •          Industry worked hard – sometimes not painted very well but a lot of work historically
  •          Last year £54bn developing electrified vehicles
  •          83 emission free vehicle models on market in 2020
  •          Societal – now society looking for electric vehicles

How have you and your businesses as well as the wider industry navigated the pandemic and what key lessons have come out of it?

  • Lost production levels now largely recovered
  • Sales of vehicles now forecast to be main impact on industry from Covid-19
  • With the impact of Brexit considered the main issue faced by the UK industry

What does the sector need from government to ensure we play a key role in the global industry of the future?

  • UK only has to look at Australia to see an automotive disappear with the loss of 4 main manufacturers and 2 R&D Centres and their suppliers.
  • Niche manufacturers will probably continue in UK but friction in trade and cheaper overseas manufacturing costs will impact UK.

Once again a huge thank you to everyone who supports and attends our events and to you for reading this report, our aim is to serve you not sell to you!

Other dates and topics of our Zoom Calls for your diary:

  • 30th November, Covid-19’s Impact on innovation with Terry Spall, President of Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE)
  • 14th December, Round up of 2020 and how to plan for success in 2021

We will also be joined by Stephen Brown discussing the current economic impact of Covid and Brexit on UK employment and Helen Dyke of Irwin Mitchell on employment law.

In the meantime, read about the latest candidates and salary levels in your industry in our Recruitment Review and Salary Survey: