The Shift in Job Opportunities in the Age of Electric Vehicles
08/10/2023 / Gail Alfar
The Rise of Electric Vehicles
Electric vehicles have moved beyond being a novelty reserved for the wealthy or environmentally conscious. Today, they have become an accessible and practical choice for everyday consumers, making them a realistic option for many.
Electric cars have become an accessible and practical choice for everyday consumers, with the global market projected to reach over 145 million by 2030, according to a report from the Electric Vehicles Initiative. As electric cars gain prominence, traditional roles in the automotive industry are evolving, creating new opportunities in electric mobility.
In this article, we'll explore how the rise of EVs impacts today’s job market, and what you need to know to stay ahead of the curve for either your career or how you choose to invest.
A Rise in Demand for Labor
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a rise in demand for labor in four main areas: design and development of electric vehicles, production of batteries, installation and maintenance of charging infrastructure, and automotive production jobs. Check out “Charging into the future: the transition to electric vehicles” for more info. Since many electric cars are being built in North America, it is wise to include a fourth area: automotive production jobs.
Design and Development of Electric Vehicles
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupations required to design and develop electric vehicles typically demand a bachelor's degree and focus on engineering. Job descriptions can vary, but let’s look at a few of the key roles that are highly sought after in the EV industry.
What Are the Top Careers in the Electrical Vehicle Industry?
Software developers will be in high demand due to the technologically advanced nature of electric vehicles, which often feature autonomous driving capabilities. Tesla's Model Y, for instance, receives over-the-air software updates to improve the vehicle for all customers. Approximately 143,400 software developer job openings are projected annually over the next decade for growth and replacement requirements.
Another profession with great demand is electrical engineering. Electric cars and trucks must continuously improve their performance, so electrical engineers are needed to develop systems and parts, including the electric motor. Electrical engineers are also required for battery technology and for the installation of charging stations. The field is expected to see an average of 12,300 annual job openings over the 2021-2031 decade.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will also be approximately 7800 openings for electronics engineers projected each year over the next decade. Electronics engineers are responsible for designing vehicle control systems like driver infotainment systems, and the electronics that enable advanced driver safety systems. They also build battery management systems that ensure battery health is monitored and regulated in electric vehicles.
The profession of chemical engineering is projected to grow faster than average for all occupations. Chemical engineers assign processes and equipment for large-scale manufacturing of electric vehicle batteries. Chemical engineers also plan and test production methods and direct large-scale battery-making operations in factories. Because more advanced battery materials are in demand, chemical engineers are sought-after specialists who will help build the next generation of batteries. Chemical engineering employment is set to skyrocket, with a 13.9% growth rate from 2021 to 2031, surpassing the average for all occupations, and an average of 2,000 yearly job openings over the decade.
Electric Car Battery Production Careers
Many auto manufacturers are opening manufacturing facilities to assemble batteries. These facilities require a variety of talent. As auto manufacturers open battery manufacturing facilities, they create job opportunities for production workers, mechanical assemblers, and supervisors. The electrical equipment and component manufacturing industry is projected to experience a significant 21.0% increase in employment from 2021 to 2031, with an average of 32,800 yearly job openings for skilled assemblers over the decade.
Jobs Installing And Maintaining the EV Charging Infrastructure
Whether a charging network is being built by Tesla or another provider, there are multiple occupations that provide an opportunity for work in this area.
Urban and regional planners play a role in identifying precise charging needs in a community, where chargers will be placed, and how many must be built. Over the course of the decade, there will be an average of 3,800 job opportunities waiting for aspiring urban and regional planners each year.
Electricians will continue to be in high demand for the installation of chargers, wiring fixtures, and maintenance and repair of EV charging equipment. The field is projected to have an average of 80,000 annual job openings over the next decade.
Electrical power-line installers and repair people are essential for connecting EV charging station sites to the power grid and ensuring optimal interconnectivity. The field is projected to account for approximately 11,000 annual job openings over the next decade.
Construction laborers play a crucial role in various site preparation tasks, including the installation of wiring, conduit, and charging units. The employment opportunities for construction laborers are expected to expand at an average pace, with approximately 143,200 job openings each year over the decade.
Automotive Production and Service Careers
Traditional auto manufacturing and service jobs are rapidly transitioning from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles, requiring a willingness to master the complexities of managing robotics and understanding EV assembly.
The shift creates more fulfilling career opportunities and allows mechanics to work on cutting-edge technology, gaining skills that keep them competitive in the job market.
With the transition to electric vehicles, mechanics can now work on cutting-edge technology and learn skills that will keep them competitive in the job market.
One veteran mechanic I talked to stated, “I love working here (with EVs) because to shop is so clean and free of exhaust!”
Production line workers transition to new and fascinating tasks involving building electric powertrains, battery systems, and operating robotic and computerized technology. While in the past we have thought of automotive production jobs as being in foreign countries, Tesla has brought back manufacturing to the USA, and these skilled workers are in high demand.
Where Are the Jobs at?
Prominent United States electric vehicle and battery manufacturing locations are found in California, Nevada, Texas, and Michigan. Auto manufacturing also makes use of robust supply chains, providing more employment and investment opportunities.
EV Jobs in Fremont, CA
The Tesla Factory in Fremont, California, is Tesla's primary vehicle manufacturing facility, producing the entire 'S3XY' lineup of cars.
BYD Jobs in Lancaster, CA
BYD’s factory is in Lancaster, California: This factory is responsible for producing BYD's electric buses, trucks, and other electric vehicles.
Tesla Jobs in Sparks, NV
Gigafactory Nevada, located in Sparks, focuses on battery production, including Tesla's energy storage products like the Powerwall and Powerpack. More jobs will be added to accommodate the production of the Tesla Semi.
Austin, TX Electric Car Jobs
Tesla Gigafactory Texas, in Austin, produces the Model Y and is currently under continued construction and expansion. It will mass produce the Cybertruck and its own batteries in the large cathode plant on the same grounds as the Gigafactory.
Ford EV Jobs in Dearborn, MI
The Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center is located in Dearborn, Michigan. This manufacturing facility is dedicated to producing electric cars and trucks, including the Ford F-150 Lightning, an all-electric version of their iconic Ford F150 pickup truck.
Michigan EV Jobs
Michigan is the home of the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant, located in Hamtramck. This is General Motors’ factory that produces electric vehicles, including the Chevrolet Bolt EV and the GMC Hummer EV.
Rivian Factory Jobs
The Rivian Normal Factory in Normal, Illinois, manufactures the Rivian R1T electric pickup truck and R1S electric SUV.
Lucid Jobs in Arizona
The Lucid Motors Factory in Casa Grande, Arizona, produces luxury electric vehicles, with their first model being the Lucid Air.
With the global market for EVs projected to exceed 145 million vehicles by 2030, electric mobility presents a transformative shift in both the job market and investment landscape. Professionals in automotive manufacturing can future-proof their careers by acquiring skills in battery technology, electric powertrain design, and software development for autonomous features, as demand for expertise in these areas is skyrocketing.
The demand for expertise in these areas is skyrocketing as the industry continues to expand.
Investors, too, should take note of the electric vehicle boom as substantial investment pours into the market. Understanding the dynamics and trends of the industry becomes crucial for making informed investment decisions.
In conclusion, the rise of electric vehicles presents immense growth potential and offers opportunities to contribute to shaping a sustainable future for professionals and investors who embrace this revolution.