No one needs a CFO to spell out how training existing hires is cheaper than recruiting new candidates. However, few have attempted a reskilling program as large as German engineering company Bosch.
The company will spend €2 billion on retraining its staff in electric technology. This will be done in an attempt to retain staff as the company pivots away from combustion engines in its motoring products.
Bosch has already spent €1 billion on programs that reskill those working on legacy technologies, and the human resources chief at Bosch, Filiz Albrecht, said that the company intends to commit “a similar sum” over the next five years.
Ultimately, the investment in reskilling will lead to €500 being spent on each worker’s training.
Reskilling the automotive industry
Moving from combustion engines to electric technology is not only a significant investment for a company but it can leave staff out of work.
Previously, heads of Bosch had been opposed to changes enforced by the EU that are designed to help the environmental crisis.
Nonetheless, chairman Stefan Hartung took over in 2022 and stated that the company would bend to the regulation.
According to the Financial Times, Hartung said: “In concrete terms, this means working closely with policymakers to implement the [EU’s] Green Deal in our business in such a way that we not only retain as many jobs as possible but also create new ones.”
Evidently, this investment in reskilling staff will be part of Bosch’s retention plan, but not everyone believes enough financial backing has been put in place.
Researcher at Colliers International, Neil Crook, commented: “It makes a good headline but they’ve already spent €1 billion and are going to spend the rest over the next few years. €500 per employee doesn’t sound like a lot though does it.”
Despite these concerns, Bosch appears to be successfully transitioning to electric vehicles. The company’s headcount has grown by 7,000 employees in the last year, although it fired hundreds across its plants in the same period.
Reflecting on the investment, Albrecht said that Bosch’s investment in training programs for existing employees has allowed mechanical engineers to become software developers and “skilled workers from combustion technology were reskilled to work in electric mobility”.
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