Automotive and autoparts shifting gears

ASEAN in Transformation

03.09.2019 by SEA-VET Content

Jae-Hee Chang, Gary Rynhart and Phy Huynh


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This paper, ASEAN in transformation: Automotive and auto parts – Shifting gears, examines how technology is transforming the automotive and auto parts sector in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). ASEAN’s automotive and auto parts sector is being significantly impacted by technology trends from electric vehicles to advances in material science, the most significant of which is robotic automation. Driven by an impetus to improve quality and consistency in production, ASEAN enterprises are swiftly moving towards greater adoption of technology. Technology is also creating a safer and cleaner working environment. However, as a result of greater technology adoption, the skills needs within the sector are changing, requiring more technical skills of greater variety and depth. To stimulate further growth in this important sector, the skills pipeline needs to be strengthened and the capacity of local automakers developed.

The findings of this paper are based on over 90 interviews, five site visits to automotive manufacturing facilities in Asia, and in-depth enterprise case studies in the automotive and auto parts sector conducted in mainly in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the United States. Secondary research was also conducted to ground the research more broadly in the ASEAN context.

The paper forms part of the ILO Bureau for Employers’ Activities (ACT/EMP) research project on the future of work and how technology is transforming jobs and enterprises in the ASEAN region. Drawing from numerous interviews and case studies, the team examined current technological trends in ASEAN and how they impact enterprises and workers within five major labour-intensive and/or growth manufacturing and services sectors: automotive and auto parts; electronics and electrical parts; textile, clothing and footwear; business process outsourcing and retail.

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