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Northern Ireland

There are approximately 14,956 employees working in the Northern Ireland automotive retail sector.

Compared to the UK average for the sector, there is a relatively low proportion of the workforce employed in managers and senior official occupations and machine and transport operative occupations in Northern Ireland. There is a high proportion of the workforce is in the skilled trades category. A substantial replacement demand of 35% is forecast over the next decade, compared to 30% across the UK automotive retail sector. Across the occupations the largest total requirements for the 2004-2014 period are forecast for:

  • 2,900 in sales and customer service
  • 900 managers and senior officials occupations
  • 300 in skilled trades

There are over 2,000 workplaces, the majority of which have less than 10 employees (82%).

The majority of the Northern Ireland automotive workforce is male. The gender imbalance is a possible reflection of the culture of the sector since it is very male dominated. The representation of ethnic minorities in the sector in Scotland is almost non-existent.

Compared to the UK average, the sector in Northern Ireland has a marginally lower proportion of employees with qualifications levels equivalent to NVQ Level 4 and 3. The proportion is relatively high for NVQ Level 2, NVQ Level 1 and those with no qualifications. There is particular concern that there are a low proportion of managers with S/NVQ Level 4 plus or equivalent qualifications in the sector.

Only 11% of Northern Ireland automotive companies report skills gaps, which is the low compared to England (19%), Wales (23%) and Scotland (23%).

Workforce statistics:

  • 16% of the workforce is female, compared to 46% across all sectors in Northern Ireland.
  • 20% of the workforce is aged 16-24 years, compared to 16% across all sectors in Northern Ireland.
  • 39% is aged 25-44 years, compared to 49% across all sectors in Northern Ireland.
  • 40% of the workforce is over 45 years, compared to 35% across all sectors in Northern Ireland.

Employer statistics:

  • 13% of companies report vacancies (of which 4% are skills shortage vacancies), compared to 16% across Northern Ireland.
  • 30% of companies arranged or funded off-the-job training, compared to 42% in the whole Northern Ireland economy.
  • 11% of companies report skills gaps, compared to 13% across Northern Ireland
  • Skills gaps are mainly for management.
  • 22% of vacancies are skills shortage vacancies, compared to 19% across all sectors in Northern Ireland.
  • 11% of companies consider their existing workforce as not fully proficient.
  • Almost one third report skills gaps in management.
  • Staff turnover is reported to be 25% per annum.

Source: Automotive Skills SSA Stage 1 – Northern Ireland 2006a