E-mobility is often associated with a fear of job losses. You say that the transformation can be managed in a socially responsible manner. What makes you say that?
A study by the Fraunhofer Institute for the Volkswagen Sustainability Advisory Board shows that reductions in employment within the company is quantitatively manageable. In many areas, they are in line with the normal progress in productivity. However, this does not say much about the qualitative effects. For the era of the digitalised electric car, people need different qualifications than they do today. We are not experiencing a reduction in employment, but rather a restructuring. In another study, we will look at how workers can build the skills needed to work in the year 2030.
What is it you want to discover, exactly?
Researchers are planning to conduct interviews with a large number of employees and managers. They want to find out what qualification tools are needed to prepare workers for the new requirements. At the Braunschweig site, we have seen how this can be achieved. There, Volkswagen has trained employees in plastics production for e-mobility – based on their individual knowledge and goals. Almost 300 former employees in plastics production now work in the production of battery systems for electric cars.
Can the model be transferred to the economy as a whole?
The transformation is taking place throughout the automotive industry. I fully expect many manufacturers and larger suppliers to learn from Volkswagen’s new study. Of course, there are also special features, such as the strong social partnership. But the challenges are comparable. Companies, employees and the government are expected to rise to these challenges. My experience as a former union chairman has shown me that the nature of work is always changing. In the end, it’s all about making the transformation people-centric.