Talent Trends in Connected Mobility 

Case Studies | December, 2016

By Will Parkhouse

DHR International hosted an open discussion with C-suite executives in Shanghai on December 1st to mark a pivotal year of innovation in connectivity and share crucial learnings from developments in Asia. Key insights that emerged from the conversation are captured in this summary.

The Connectivity Revolution 

New technologies have accelerated the formation of an impressive landscape of unusual opportunities for partnership and growth, both internally and externally for businesses in the automotive sector. With evolving customer expectations, complex computing capabilities, faster communication speeds, fully connected vehicles and a continually evolving environment, executives are tasked with a series of immediate challenges.


One of the biggest challenges automotive companies now face is talent. Specifically, the critical need for a “technology translator”, armed with the business acumen and bilingual understanding of a company’s objectives alongside its connected potential. Even more important is the ability for this potential to be realized with clear action and a lucrative ROI.

The new breed of ‘Connected Car’ executives are a younger generation aged 30-50 with a passion for making a difference, constantly looking for improvements with an appetite for disruptive missions. They have the agility and flexibility to challenge norms and delight customers by innovating and developing next generation products. Their multifaceted capabilities are crucial for unlocking growth in technology and
customer experiences.

With drastic change shaking up the industry, leadership teams must focus on building a strong culture of innovation within their organizations. But how should existing company culture be managed to avoid causing friction during the transition into connectivity?
Encouraging experimentation will help ensure that teams can work seamlessly at the highest levels in both traditional divisions and new generations.

Key Questions You Should Be Asking

  • What is your strategy for building and strengthening connectivity capabilities across your organization?
  • How can you embrace the connectivity culture and remove traditional organizational barriers?
  • Do you have a list of critical capabilities for your connectivity vision?
  • Do you know the top connectivity talent inside your company? And do you know how they are performing? Are they being challenged/motivated in their current programs?
  • How might you build expertise in connectivity throughout every level in the organization?
  • How might you challenge your existing team, starting from the top, to demonstrate know-how?
  • Have you mapped the connectivity talent to determine who you want on your team?
  • How can you attract experts in connectivity to develop technological capability?
  • Do you have the flexibility in your compensation structure to attract connectivity talent?

Data Security 

Our private data is no longer private. The heat continues to rise around the ownership of data by the individual versus technology providers versus manufacturers and is likely to remain an area of great contention while manufacturers and developers find their footing.

Surprisingly, leaders around the table commented that Western consumers tend to be much more sensitive about giving their details away to third parties, whereas customer concerns in China are focused primarily on having access to the tools and products they need, regardless of what data is necessary to grant that access.

During the debate, a CIO from a leading OEM shared thoughts on the fact that simply having a background in technology cannot act as an automatic indicator that staff will have the right skills when facing government offices. In the race to automation, regulation is constantly coming into question, especially where new technologies are creating very alien and uncertain territories.

Key Questions You Should Be Asking

  • How can technology providers and OEMs see the value of investing in a much closer view on government regulation?
  • How will regulation in China affect future developments across the region?
  • How can manufacturers prepare for the inevitable cyber-security issues associated with connected technology?

Transformation Now

With projected revenue growth in the connected car space predicted to reach US$50-75 billion by 2020, competition is fierce between OEMs and their partners. The rapid innovation spreading across the industry must be harnessed by business leaders at the same speed. Equally, with such little room for error in seeking the right strategic path, this is certainly not the time for shortcuts. The leaders of the automotive industry need to act fast in acknowledging the changes that are happening in the market and raise the level of discussion and analysis around how to capitalize on new growth opportunities.