Monday, January 24

China’s electric car boom is fueling a war for talent

China’s electric vehicle boom is also fueling a job boom and a war for talent.

I recently met two friends who are joining Chinese electric vehicle manufacturers from foreign companies, lured by the opportunity to get on the ground floor of the next big thing and big pay.

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That in itself is a big change from years past, when a job at a foreign-owned automaker was seen as more prestigious and higher-paying than domestic companies, especially when local EV makers like Nio were reeling from it. brink of collapse in its start-up. phase.

But with increasing demand, electric vehicle sales are forecast to double to 3 million units this year, according to the China Automobile Manufacturers Association, and companies like Nio and Xpeng on a firmer footing, join the a Chinese automaker is now considered a good idea. stroke movement.

The number of jobs in the new energy vehicle sector increased 95% in the first half of 2021 from the previous year, and the average salary increased by almost 10% according to hiring firm Liepin. Experts in artificial intelligence, autonomous driving and smart cabin design are in high demand.

An offer letter circulating on Chinese social media from electronics titan Xiaomi, which is investing $ 10 billion in plans to start making electric vehicles and recently bought autonomous company Deepmotion, highlights what the job scene looks like for companies. people with the right skills.

A snapshot of the employment contract of a senior engineer at the company’s automotive unit shows an annual salary of 600,000 yuan ($ 93,600), more than five times China’s average income, and about 1 million yuan in stock options. . While a Xiaomi spokesperson declined to comment on the figures, it seems to be in line with what I heard from my friends who have changed jobs.

One, a woman in her 40s, joined a Chinese electric vehicle maker earlier this year after more than a decade at an American automaker, where she thought she would have worked until her retirement. Along with better pay and stock options, being part of a more dynamic work culture and helping to build a successful future for the company is bringing a lot of job satisfaction, even with the overtime you’ve been doing, she told me. .

Another, a guy in his 20s who joins an established Chinese automaker, doubled his salary when he made the switch. While initially reluctant to change jobs, he was also persuaded by the increased responsibilities and greater potential that the new role brings.

The change is also happening in the C-suite. Alain Visser, a General Motors and Ford veteran now runs Lynk & Co., which is trying to change the traditional model of car ownership with a subscription service.

When asked about the main difference between his old jobs and his new role at the unit of Chinese auto giant Geely, Visser said it was the pace of change and how quickly things get done.

“I dare say, with all due respect for Ford and General Motors, it was all very similar,” he said. “The big difference at Geely for me is speed. Is incredible.”

“The drive to make things happen, I’ve never seen it. What takes months to decide at other car companies I’ve worked for takes days at Geely. I think the speed here is insane. I don’t think I can go back to my previous career, ”Visser said.

For my friends, the feeling is the same: adding a brain drain as yet another threat that traditional automakers face as the shift to an electric-driving future progresses.

© 2021 Bloomberg

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