Driving Top Talent Retention in the Automotive Industry

CoachHub · 23 August 2023 · 6 min read

In the dynamic landscape of the automotive industry, innovation reigns supreme. From electric vehicles to autonomous driving, the race for cutting-edge technology and superior performance is unending. And amid this race of advancements, one constant remains at the heart of a company’s success: its talent pool. The automotive industry’s ability to attract and retain top talent, particularly IT and product talent, a historically less represented group in the industry, plays a pivotal role in determining its future trajectory. In this blog post, we delve into the importance of top talent retention in the automotive sector and how the right investment into targeted, individualised people development will determine an automotive company’s success or failure in the upcoming years.

Being Industry Innovation Leaders

At the core of the automotive industry lies a relentless pursuit of innovation. The industry’s landscape has evolved from traditional internal combustion engines to electric vehicles, connectivity, and autonomous driving. In particular top automotive IT/Product talent, with their diverse skills and creative ideas, are the driving force behind this innovation.

Retaining such individuals ensures a steady stream of fresh ideas and a commitment to pushing boundaries.

automotive tech talent retention

Preserving Decades-Old Industry Wisdom

In an industry where technology shifts are rapid, experience and institutional knowledge are invaluable. Top talent often deeply understands the industry’s history, lessons learned, and nuances that can only be learned through hands-on experience. When this knowledge is retained within a company, it acts as a guiding light, preventing the reinvention of the wheel and facilitating efficient problem-solving.

Maintaining a Competitive Edge

The automotive sector is fiercely competitive, with companies vying for market share, consumer loyalty, and technological dominance. Talented individuals bring unique perspectives, skills, and a track record of success. Their presence enhances a company’s reputation and fosters an environment where excellence is encouraged and expected. Losing top talent to competitors can significantly undermine a company’s competitive edge.

It will become increasingly critical for automotive companies to raise their brand as a top employer of choice by offering best-in-class employee experiences that attract not only talent, but top talent.

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Reducing Costs and Enhancing Stability

The cost of employee turnover can be staggering. Recruiting, onboarding, and training new employees require substantial time and resources. High turnover rates can disrupt projects, delay timelines, and impact team cohesion.

In fact, the average cost of replacing a new employee can range from ½ – 2x their annual salary (Gallup, 2019). In particular, IT/Product Talent is in high demand in the automotive sector aiming to lead innovation with cutting-edge technology. With a turnover of 13% (LinkedIn, 2022) for product talent, a medium-sized automotive company with 5000 employees and an average salary of 85.000 EUR faces a risk of 110 million EUR in cost.

Retaining top talent reduces these costs and contributes to a stable work environment where goals can be pursued with minimal interruptions.

Customer and Supplier Relations and Brand Loyalty

The automotive industry thrives on building long-lasting relationships with suppliers and customers. Top talent often deeply understands stakeholder needs and preferences gained through experience and insight. Retaining engaged, top-performing employees who anticipate and fulfil these needs helps build brand loyalty and partnership trust. The investment in retaining top-engaged employees will pay off because teams who score in the top quartile for employee engagement saw the following benefits compared with bottom-quartile teams:

  • 10% higher customer loyalty/engagement
  • 23% higher profitability
  • 18% higher productivity
  • 18% lower turnover for high-turnover organisations (those with more than 40% annualised turnover)
  • 43% lower turnover for low-turnover organisations (those with 40% or lower annualised turnover)
  • 81% decrease in absenteeism
  • 41% decrease in quality defects

(Gallup, 2022)


Retaining top industry talent with digital Coaching

One way to mitigate turnover risk and build automotive organisations that are top employers for the best Product/IT talent on the market is to offer individualised, personalised development like Coaching. According to market research, Coaching is the most sought-after benefit for employees in 2022, and due to its scalability with digital Coaching can be a cost-effective and impactful tool to Decrease Turnover Risk, Create Strong Role Alignment for Top Automotive Talent, and Become an Employer of Choice for IT/Product Talent.

Decrease Turnover Risk

Coaching enhances job satisfaction and engagement by providing employees with personalised guidance, skill development, and ongoing support. When employees feel valued and equipped to navigate the challenges of the automotive sector, they are more likely to develop a strong connection with their company’s mission and objectives. Effective Coaching helps identify and address potential issues that contribute to turnover. As automotive professionals experience personal growth and enhanced performance through Coaching, their loyalty to the organisation solidifies, reducing turnover rates and related operational disruptions.

A global automotive technology supplier and CoachHub client realised this and rolled out a Coaching program that significantly impacted talent retention. Attrition went from 20% to 14% as a result of the coaching intervention. Given the company size of 2,700, this contributed to estimated savings of 28 million EUR (assuming an average salary of 85k EUR) due to the reduced cost of talent replacement. Furthermore, the long-term benefits of the coaching program are visible even 12 months down the line, when more than 95% of coachees who participated in the program were still part of the organisation.

Creating strong role alignment

Being a product-savvy innovation driver in the history-rich automotive industry means building a workforce with the culture and skills of a product organisation. With a workforce mainly built from industry talent, there naturally is a part of the workforce struggling with person-role/organisation-fit, potentially contributing to low employee engagement. Coaching is a development intervention that contributes to high person-role fit across the organisation in numerous ways:

  • Help top talent proactively shape their role and apply their strengths where needed.
  • Top talent career planning in line with their aspirations and the organisation’s needs
  • Help less engaged employees reflect on their current position and determine their role in the organisation’s future.
  • Set internal and external development pathways to help individuals with lower person-role fit thrive in their careers.

Data across all CoachHub clients demonstrates the impact of Coaching on factors related to person-role fit, in particular +10% Motivation, +9% Growth Mentality, +12% Centeredness, and +11% Authenticity.

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Become an employer of choice for top tech talent

With Facebook, Netflix, Hubspot, Google, Microsoft, and Co. leading the way, the technology industry is best in class in offering employee experiences and, with that, become the most attractive employers on the market. One tangible way automotive organisations can stand out is through benefits beyond classic healthcare and pension. Examples include Flexible hours, Equal paid parental leave, Remote/ hybrid work options, Employee assistance programs, Unlimited PTO, and Personalised training and development such as Coaching.

Benefits attract and retain top talent:

of applicants strongly consider the perks and benefits being offered before accepting a job offer (Glassdoor, 2021)
of employees say that benefits are important to their overall job satisfaction (SHRM, 2018)


For employees, Coaching is an appealing benefit because it:

For employers, Coaching is an appealing benefit because it:

  • Shows that the company is invested in its workforce.
  • Helps to identify and nurture top talent
  • Provides a cost-effective and impactful learning experience.
  • Reduces turnover and increases engagement.
  • Offers aggregated insights into the strengths and areas for opportunity across the organisation.

The automotive industry’s journey toward innovation and success is powered by its most valuable asset: top talent. The individuals who bring creativity, expertise, and a commitment to excellence play an instrumental role in shaping the industry’s future. Retaining these individuals isn’t just an HR strategy; it’s a strategic imperative that drives innovation, maintains competitiveness, and fosters a culture of excellence. Companies that recognize and invest in top talent retention through individualised, personalised development offerings like Coaching will be well-equipped to navigate the twists and turns of the automotive landscape and emerge as industry leaders.

Jule Deges
Sr Behavioural Scientist @ CoachHub
Jule Deges is a behavioural scientist and consultant with a passion for understanding and shaping organisational behaviour. With an academic background and ongoing PhD studies in Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology, she has dedicated her career to consulting organisations on how to foster happier, healthier, and more engaged workforces.
Jule is a moderator, regular speaker at conferences and part of CoachHub’s Innovation Lab as a Senior Behavioural Scientist.

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CoachHub is a leading global talent development platform that enables organisations to create personalised, measurable and scalable coaching programmes for the entire workforce, regardless of department and seniority level. By doing so, organisations are able to reap a multitude of benefits, including increased employee engagement, higher levels of productivity, improved job performance and increased retention. CoachHub’s global pool of coaches is comprised of over 3,500 certified business coaches in 90 countries across six continents with coaching sessions available in over 80 languages. Serving more than 1,000 clients worldwide, CoachHub’s innovative coaching programs are based on proprietary scientific research and development from its Innovation Lab. CoachHub is backed by leading tech investors, including Sofina, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Molten Ventures, Speedinvest, HV Capital, Partech and Silicon Valley Bank/SVB Capital. CoachHub was certified as a carbon-neutral company and consistently measures, reduces, and implements strategies to minimise its environmental impact.

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