The demand for electric vehicles is growing in recent times. Tesla recently announced a job cut in Tesla, for about 10%. Despite the struggling times, Tesla is in need of skilled engineers to help develop EV batteries for mass production. The median salaries of battery engineers have increased in recent years.
Tesla being an engineering-first approach, the company needs to have skilled engineers. Median battery engineers’ salaries range from $100,000 to $400,000 depending on their experience and role. People looking out for a career change are looking out for these options.
Furthermore, the CEO of Ford and general Motors-backed SES Artificial Intelligence, Qichao Hu talks about EV battery talent being in high demand. Says that it would require a change, in the industry as it is not sustainable with the bottleneck that is created by increasing prices. The reason could be that money is being spent on employees or raw materials. Hu said, “A senior battery engineer in the U.S. sometimes can cost as much like a CFO. This whole industry now, it’s not sustainable, from people to raw materials.”
Recently SES faced a bidding war with GM, Tesla, Rivian, and QuantumScape over an engineer. It was where Tesla managed to provide a higher price for the candidate.
Another battery engineer working at a worldwide automaker told Bloomberg they were seeing requests on LinkedIn from recruiters at Rivian, Ford, Tesla, Amazon and Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd. (CATL). And while engineering degrees may go a long way in getting one’s foot in the door, the competition is largely left to those with tangible EV engineering experience — in everything from R&D to raw materials and scaled production.
American Battery Technology CEO Ryan Melsert played a major role in Tesla’s early establishment of the Panasonic battery line at the automaker’s Nevada factory. Even when technology advances, automakers are struggling to find the line workers they need to support growth. “It’s not even just the high-skilled, it’s the medium-skilled,” says Melsert. “They can’t find enough labor, even in northern Nevada, to justify expansion.”
Along with others from MIT, battery engineer and entrepreneur Yen T. Yeh founded the Volta Foundation. Through it, he has been in regular contact with universities and battery labs to address the growing workforce problem in the EV battery industry. “Workforce development is the key issue,” he told me. “If we don’t solve this, Americans are not going to be the leader we want to be in the battery race.”