The shift to electric vehicles in the automotive industry will make some positions of automakers obsolete while opening up others.
Chris McCarthy, global transportation director at North Highland, predicts that this transformation will result in a “generational layoff” in the automotive industry. Automakers are experiencing a long-term change while internet companies are laying off workers due to over recruiting during the boom. To “accelerate attrition” and save $2 billion during the shift to electric vehicles, General Motors has unveiled a massive buyout scheme that will cover the vast majority of its salaried workers. This decision follows months of smaller layoff announcements by Stellantis, which competes with Ford and Jeep, among others.
While IT giants like Google, Meta, and Microsoft are feeling the effects of downsizing, the automotive industry is experiencing something different. McCarthy notes that some of the car industry’s job losses are being offset by the creation of new positions for automakers. There are layoffs in one department, but hiring in another, he said. That’s in stark contrast to Silicon Valley, where artificial intelligence and other technologies are facilitating staff reductions while simultaneously increasing productivity. There is a significant need for people with software development and technical backgrounds in the automotive industry.
Consulting firm Berylls’s head and a foreseeer of impending layoffs, Martin French, cautions that it will be difficult to strike a fair employment balance in the years ahead. “If you look at the tens of billions budgeted for electrification and compare it to what these corporations are actually making in these last years, it just doesn’t make up,” French added. It seems to me that this is only the beginning.
In recent years, layoffs and buyouts are nothing new in the automotive business. In the years preceding up to the pandemic, when times were good economically, automakers initiated a massive round of layoffs that would affect tens of thousands of automakers. According to French, the tech industry is emulating Detroit’s strategy of layoffs this year. Claims that tech corporations are already feeling the effects of the economic downturn make him doubtful; instead, he thinks that these businesses are preparing for the worst before a true “bloodbath.”
General motors eliminated many automakers’ positions in US
As part of a company-wide reorganisation in 2019, General Motors eliminated tens of thousands of jobs and shut down production facilities across the United States. As part of its transition to electrification, Ford also eliminated over 7,000 employees that same year. Both businesses justified the layoffs at the time by saying they were taking advantage of the favourable economic climate to implement strategic, though temporary, changes to their workforce.
Although while the switch to EVs will cause some employment losses in the car sector, it’s vital to remember that new jobs will be created. Automakers will need to strike a balance between these factors while also ensuring they invest in training for the software engineering and design skills necessary to satisfy future demand. To prepare for an economic crisis, IT companies may be following Detroit’s lead by making strategic, but measured, cuts to their workforce.
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