The booming electric vehicle battery industry is struggling to find talent

  • Companies in the battery space are looking for tons of talent as the industry grows.
  • Startups and established players have hundreds of listings for battery engineers and more.
  • Here’s a look at the landscape of drum jobs and how to take advantage of it.

As electrification accelerates, the great race for talent in the battery world begins.

It is imperative given that car companies will long depend on the battery space for their electric vehicle businesses to be sustainable and successful in the long term. For this to work, the industry must source critical battery materials such as lithium and nickel; domestic sourcing (to qualify for the tax credits set forth in President Biden’s climate bill); find the best chemistry; and recycle these batteries once they are no longer in a vehicle.

That value chain could create 10 million jobs worldwide by 2030, according to an estimate by the World Economic Forum. It could also reach a whopping $339.5 billion by 2030, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.

That means battery chemical companies, materials companies, battery health teams, recycling and second life battery players, and more are scrambling to find people with the right experience.

“There is a shortage of real technical talent in these industries,” said David Deak, a former senior engineering manager at Tesla Gigafactory who is now on the board of battery startup Addionics.

And while electric vehicle startups and legacy automakers have been laying off workers of late, the demand to fill these positions isn’t going to go away.

“It looks like the funding is still there to scale and scale quickly and invest with a view to two, three years, even four or five years,” said Hugo Malan, president of Kelly Science, Engineering, Technology & Telecom. .

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This is what you can expect from the space.

massive demand

July and August accounted for the highest and second highest volume of unique job postings related to the keywords “electric vehicle” and “battery” this year, according to Kelly.

Mining giant Albemarle is looking for more than 330 employees, including health and safety managers, chemical engineers and procurement analysts. The Redwood Materials Battery Recycling Team has over 100 listings online and is in need of Battery Lab Technicians, Manufacturing Process Engineers, and Chemical Operators.

Meanwhile, solid-state lithium metal battery company QuantumScape has dozens of open positions on its careers site, for everything from cell development to operations engineering. Battery startup Our Next Energy has at least 15 posts, for roles such as senior test development engineers and battery management systems. It also just announced plans to hire 2,100 people at a new plant in Michigan.

Recycling player Cirba Solutions is “making sure that we rapidly develop the organization to meet the growth needs that we have,” CEO David Klanecky told Insider in July, as in processing or even marketing.

Be hired

Job candidates should weigh their appetite for risk, especially given the challenges facing the electric vehicle industry, Malan said. But there are roles that will continue to be critical and increasingly available that workers can seek.

“The market is still strong and particularly for the vendor ecosystem, things like batteries and control units etc,” Malan said.

Expect an influx in electrical engineering, software engineering, and battery pack-related functions, as well as publications in mechanical engineering and systems engineering.

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Startup Ion Storage Systems, for example, hired 60% of its current staff in the last year and plans to double that number by the end of this year. They are not alone, and are even taking advantage of traditional external spaces to fill in the gaps. That means candidates looking for opportunities may not have to worry if their experience doesn’t seem directly applicable.

“We’re actively recruiting from outside the field and bringing in global polymer experts who have nothing to do with batteries, but have a key answer to some of the things we’re working on,” said CTO Greg Hitz.

“People drive everything, and it’s a major focus of the company,” Hitz added. “We have to keep growing.”

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