Design students and the automobile crisis

Sketch from LB Car Design Education Tips blog

Is the crisis damaging young design students?

Some time ago I read an article saying that the actual economic crisis was strongly damaging young design students prospectives to find a design job in the automotive industry. The crisis touched the automobile more then another type of products and many jobs in this sectors payed a high price. GM is an example in US, but also in Europe and Asia other car companies had to lay off lots of workers trying to rebalance their economic accounts (preserve cash flow). This happened also in their Design departments using several types of formulas like pre-retirement plans etc. etc.

Design schools and Design students in car design are worried because several Design studios are not offering jobs or internships or they are hiring but for a very limited place numbers. So what to do? Is this negative? Should this declare the end of a passionate job opportunity?

I would like to see this situation on a different point of view and a positive one; the past year and the current one are going to be the hardest of recent history employment, but students can "hold" their position using a strategy that will give them a better preparation and position them for when the game will start again which is after this coming summer period (analysts say that the after crisis soon will arrive). Design students should seriously think to follow a Master Program of a year in car design eventually in a different school. This will occupy them for a richer experience and put them in conditions to be prepared with a fresh portfolio to look for job, it is good for CV,too. Another solution could be to offer themselves for a free internship, in this case the opportunity is to put a foot inside the company working hard to be hopefully hired later. Another solution could be to open a freelance business waiting for a better time to try to get a job, in this case life gets harder (get to find clients) but also very exciting for those that love the risk of working on their own.

This crisis is not going to last forever, this is clear! The question is when is going to be over, it looks like it is going to be a slow process, but in some fields like the automotive industry the R&D design studios have to start today to think about "the after crisis" to be ready with new products and mainly with new markets to conquest. To do so companies have to invest in research and development which means in technologies and "creativity".

Currently (2012 I am writing back an up-date...) China, India and Brasil are economies that grow more compared to USA and Europe. Specially China and India are asking for talents now! If you check on (professional social network in every field worldwide) you will see lots of design job openings coming from those maybe it is time you start thinking that California , Italy, Germany and France are not anymore your first choices after school....but China and India are for a completely new experience.

In conclusion the situation is bad, but it is not dramatic for young talented design students ready to exit school.

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Comments 3 comments

Mehmet 4 years ago

Great post. Thanks!

Emile 4 years ago

Nice point of view,

The crisis made me believe to do it all ourselves, the birth of our dream, We build a supercar from scratch: from sketch to model to road legal supercar:


Jagpreet Singh 4 years ago

Dearest Luciano

In the past too you have given a lot of advice to me, through your blog or by personal email replies.

And every time i have been indebted to you for all your help and motivation.

This current article is nothing less than anything when it comes to a true picture of the industry. I passed out of IED in 2009, when recession was at peak, and currently i can see the market opening up. Being in india, I do agree to you about your views, however, when it comes to hiring designers, Indian companies are still not very sure. The processes of hiring are very long (going upto an year) which adds worry to new designers.

Hopefully things get better


Jagpreet Singh

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