Tesla’s hard-line on return-to-office leads to hiring spree for competitors

The news: Amazon, Apple, Lucid Motors, and Rivian are some of the companies snapping up laid-off Tesla employees after the company cut 3.5% of its total workforce, including 10% of its salaried staff, per Insider.

Hiring frenzy for ex-Tesla workers: Tesla’s hard-line return-to-office mandate has opened the floodgates of hiring in Silicon Valley. LinkedIn data tracked by Punks & Pinstripes, revealed that over 450 Tesla employees were autopiloted out of the company over the past 90 days as of June 30.

  • 100 ex-Tesla employees now work at Apple or Amazon. The former has long been rumored to be working on its “Project Titan” EV, while the latter has various self-driving technologies under development. 
  • 28 employees went to Google, 25 to Meta, and 23 to Microsoft.
  • 90 ex-Tesla workers were hired by EV rivals Rivian and Lucid Motors, while eight moved to traditional carmakers Ford and GM.
  • EV-battery-recycling company Redwood Materials and Amazon-backed AV company Zoox also hired Tesla workers in that period. 

What this means for Tesla? Experts have said tumultuous times and staffing issues could have many of Tesla’s 100,000 employees weighing their options after CEO Elon Musk’s return-to-office ultimatum.

  • A staffing upheaval or Great Resignation within Tesla’s ranks would come at a time of intensifying competition: EV makers in the US and overseas are starting to ramp up production. 
  • Not only could an exodus of employees contribute to brain drain within the company, it could keep away potential hires. In context, Tesla reportedly rescinded job offers to new hires in late June, per MarketWatch—a red flag for any job seeker aspiring to build a career with Tesla.
  • Layoffs will likely continue, especially with Musk himself saying new factories in Texas and Berlin have become “gigantic money furnaces.” 
  • Tesla isn’t alone in shedding headcount, Meta recently slashed its hiring plans, and Intel similarly stopped hiring for its chip division as the PC market faced a 8.2% YoY decline. 
  • Regarding return-to-office mandates, 76% of Apple workers said they’re dissatisfied with that company’s return-to-work policy. Fifty-six percent said they’re thinking about leaving the company because of it.

What’s the catch? Other Big Tech companies are taking a different approach to retaining talent by adopting flexible work arrangements and increasing salaries and incentives, a stark contrast to Tesla’s “my way or the highway” stand. Raises are a cheaper option than recruiting and training new talent, especially in a tight labor market