As traditional automakers transform into high-tech conglomerates, skilled workers who can design and operate the next generation of “computers on wheels” will flood the job market, displacing many in Silicon Valley.
According to a CNBC report, major tech companies like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Meta (the parent company of Facebook), and others have already laid off, or are in the process of laying off, around 70,000 employees in the next year due to economic uncertainty and slower growth.
Analysts told the Free Press that with so much skilled tech labour flooding the market, GM and Ford Motor Co. have a golden opportunity to recruit workers who might not have considered the Motor City before.
In spite of the fact that “this isn’t a major growth year from a hiring standpoint,” GM spokeswoman Maria Raynal assured reporters that the company would continue to seek out and recruit qualified tech professionals. As a result of layoffs in the technology industry, this group includes experts in fields like electric vehicle (EV) development, software engineering, and the “defined vehicle.”
“In the past, the driving experience was largely determined by the vehicle’s physical components,” Raynal explained. The transition to electric and autonomous vehicles has put a premium on software engineering for the development of necessary infrastructure like software, apps, and over-the-air software updates. In recent years, this division has seen a disproportionate share of our available positions.
However, GM isn’t the only automaker seizing this opportunity. Ford, GM’s main competitor in the area, has been actively recruiting tech professionals for the better part of a year now.
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Inviting Displaced Workers to Attend
Judith Gerlach, the minister for digitalization in Bavaria, Germany’s most prosperous state, posted an open invitation to the recently unemployed on LinkedIn.
Few European companies pay salaries that can compete with the hundreds of thousands of dollars on offer at California’s most successful companies, especially now that the euro is valued at parity with the dollar, but some are optimistic that cheaper healthcare and lower costs compared to hotspots like San Francisco will help.
Finally, “Did I mention Oktoberfest?” In addition to strong labour protections, Gerlach mentioned Munich’s famous beer festival as a possible draw for the recently unemployed.
Bitkom’s Bernhard Rohleder expresses scepticism, saying that Germany faces competition not only from other countries but also from the countries of origin of potential recruits.
German bureaucracy is notoriously cumbersome; some businesses have reported waiting months for visa appointment slots for new hires.
The e-commerce giant has started laying off workers in a reduction in force that is expected to last through the rest of the year (it began in November). That’s a tiny fraction of its global workforce of 1.5 million.
White-collar workers in the company’s less profitable sectors, such as the division responsible for its voice assistant, Alexa, are hit the hardest by the layoffs. The company’s vast warehouse and logistics operation, which doubled in size during the pandemic, employs the vast majority of its workers.