The area of research and development in the UK automotive industry is critical for most companies. There are a few major international companies that already have established names which allow them to relax their development efforts a bit. However, most small and medium sized automotive companies need a strong development team to create vehicles that are on the cutting edge. The person responsible for initiating the conceptual and technical side of development, the head of development, is crucial to the success of automotive firms. The question for many auto development professionals is how to achieve a position as a head of development. After all, most development heads have decades of experience in the automotive industry and have worked through the ranks to land their job.
However, there are opportunities for experienced development professionals to cross over from one company to another in order to head up a new development department or take over for a retiring head. Nonetheless, there are few advertisements in the newspaper or online for heads of development with a major automotive firm. Experienced professionals unknowingly have the first ingredient toward finding a development head position.
Many development professionals attend conferences and work with many colleagues during their years in the automotive industry. Development workers need to utilise these connections in order to find out information about potential positions opening up throughout the industry. A development worker may have a former colleague who works at another auto firm. This colleague may know about an opening that may be coming up for their company's head of development position. This type of informal network is necessary for ascension into management positions in the automotive industry. A second resource for development job hunters looking for the head spot are executive recruiting firms.
Throughout the United Kingdom, there are firms that focus on management and executive level positions in a variety of industries. These firms can help a potential development head promote their candidacy to various companies while helping them refine their skills for the series of interviews necessary to land the job. Development professionals in the automotive field need to set themselves up early for upper management positions.
Executive hiring committees look for a willingness to lead, creativity, knowledge of the industry, and a commitment to creating a great product. Professionals who cultivate a reputation and become known as a leader in the development field can write their ticket to the development head position of their choice.
Richard Taylor Edwards is the Managing Director of Talisman Executive, a specialist recruitment agency for construction careers and construction jobs in the UK and Europe.