OESA recently released its Automotive Supplier Barometer for November 2014. The November Supplier barometer focused on Human Resources issues related to staffing benefits and training. The Supplier Sentiment Index (SSI) is the same as the September level, at 56, reflecting a positive outlook for suppliers. However, as the OESA notes, the warranty/recall issues in the United States and global economic and political volatility have driven the SSI downward this year.

The survey identified several supplier trends in hiring, staffing, and human resources this year. Sixty-one percent of suppliers expect to hire engineers in the next year, and over 54 percent plan to hire technicians, hourly skilled trades, and hourly production positions. However, salary turnover and hourly turnover both appear to be increasing, and suppliers continue to face difficulties in finding qualified engineers, technicians, and skilled tradespeople. In fact, 38 percent of survey respondents identified the lack of qualified candidates as the top reason they cannot fill open positions. This shortage is particularly problematic as employee resources continue to be diverted to address the recall and warranty issues facing suppliers.

Looking ahead to next year, suppliers are not anticipating significant benefit changes, although 48 percent are planning to increase employer health care contributions. As suppliers attempt to address the lack of qualified candidates for open positions, 60 percent of companies will increase training budgets next year. Nearly all of the surveyed companies identified internal employee training and development is the most effective strategy utilized in the development of skilled production workers.