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Job cuts pile up in the electric vehicle segment

The news: The EV market has not been spared as various companies are shedding headcount. More than 30,000 tech workers at over 150 companies have been cut from their roles so far this year. 

Why it’s worth watching: EVs are considered an emerging tech segment, driven by high demand and mounting competition as the global automotive industry shifts to electric vehicles

But various companies that were on a hiring spree months ago are now quickly reversing their staffing situations by laying off hundreds of workers.

  • Rivian Automotive, which makes electric pickups, SUVs, and delivery vans, is reportedly planning to lay off hundreds of non-manufacturing jobs after it doubled its headcount over the past year, per Bloomberg. 
  • Ford, which recently divided its operations between combustion-engine and electric-powered divisions, is preparing to cut 8,000 jobs, ostensibly to “help fuel the EV transition.”
  • Tesla challenger Lucid Group seems to have stalled before it has even started. The company slashed its production forecast for the year in half, with layoffs likely to follow. 
  • Argo AI, a Ford- and Volkswagen-backed AV company, laid off 150 employees, amounting to 6% of its workforce, in July.
  • GM announced it was taking steps to manage costs and cash flow, including “limiting hiring to critical needs in positions that support growth,” said CEO Mary Barra.

What this means for EV manufacturers: Considering EV design and production are specialized fields, the loss of talent could derail plans for market leaders looking to increase output to meet demand. 

  • Not only could an exodus of employees contribute to brain drain within the company, it could also keep away potential hires. 
  • When Tesla cut 3.5% of its total workforce, Amazon, Apple, Lucid Motors, and Rivian benefited by hiring over 200 ex-Tesla workers. 
  • Lucid and Rivian may have easily absorbed Tesla talent, but their own financial tribulations could force them to lose staff just as easily. Unlike Tesla, these startups have a limited runway to make good on their EV deliveries.

What this means for EV workers: Mass layoffs could be a temporary setback in an industry undergoing the tipping point for EV mass adoption.

  • Many tech companies are desperate for automotive expertise. In context, Apple recently hired Lamborghini’s lead engineer Luigi Taraborrelli to steward its car project.
  • EV workers could consider applying to other Big Tech companies like Amazon and Google, which have various EV, smart car, and autonomous vehicle projects under development.

However, Big Tech companies are similarly pressed to adjust to market conditions by reducing headcount, which makes for a challenging job market in the short term.

This article originally appeared in Insider Intelligence's Connectivity & Tech Briefing—a daily recap of top stories reshaping the technology industry. Subscribe to have more hard-hitting takeaways delivered to your inbox daily.