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In everyone’s mind, the imagination of the future car’s shape has changed. Abandon complicated gears and a constantly roaring fuel-powered engine, users can instead reach out and press touch-sensitive buttons on the screen, so that the electric car can operate without a driver.
And the dramatic changes in the auto industry’s job market are mirroring those fantasies, as sought-after talent in the industry has changed from being a vehicle design engineer to an architect. algorithm and software architect.
A few years ago, many students and their parents imagined that after graduating from auto mechanics, they would have the opportunity to work in an automobile company and that would be a “golden position”. “.
But times have changed. Now, new algorithm programmers are the sought-after guests of the new energy vehicle industry. And when electric car companies are constantly springing up, in addition to the capital war, a talent war has officially begun.
Take a look at China, the electric vehicle market that has been the most vibrant in the world in recent years. Besides the first three electric car brands Weilai, Xiaopeng and Ideal, a series of new names have jumped into the market such as Baidu, Didi, Xiaomi, Huawei, Midea… And as colleges and universities in China There are still no majors in new energy and smart cars, so talent with appropriate experience will naturally become a good bait for the parties to compete.
And the easiest way to attract is to rely on finance. Many new energy car companies have offered high salaries to attract talent. Some headhunters say that for positions such as CEOs and senior talent, recruitment agencies have explicitly stated that “there is no cap on annual salary”. And such a position can earn more than 1 million USD in annual salary.
Xiaomi, on June 16, also announced some recruitment information in the field of autonomous driving on its official website. These include 20 locations related to data platforms, vehicle infrastructure, high-precision maps, and hypersonic radar algorithms. It can be said that the need to recruit talent has become extremely urgent.
According to employment data, only in the first quarter of 2021, the number of new jobs in the electric vehicle sector in China increased sharply year-on-year, reaching 103.53%. In the automotive industry, demand for autonomous driving research and development, smart cockpit designers, software engineers, sales, user experience and other positions has increased by more than 1, 8 times over the same period last year.
At the same time, wages in this industry also increased sharply. According to statistics, the average monthly salary offered by new energy car manufacturers is about 2,300 USD, up 21.6% over the same period last year. Especially for some positions related to autonomous driving algorithms, the annual salary can even go up to more than 150,000 USD.
Xia Yiping, CEO of Jidu, Baidu’s new heavy-duty vehicle company, frankly said that in the last 100 days, the company has always been in a state of “repairing planes while flying planes”. In early March, the core team responsible for exploring the product’s direction had only 4.5 people, but now there are more than 100 employees officially employed.
Also recently, the Chinese human resources market has witnessed a series of job jumps of CEOs in the auto industry, from traditional car manufacturers to new energy car companies. In June, the former vice president and director of marketing and sales of Dongfeng Renault joined Baoneng Motor as group vice president. Earlier in May, the CEO of Ford China’s electric vehicle division and the person in charge of the Mustang Mach-E electric vehicle project, resigned due to speculation he might join Xiaomi. Earlier in April, the former vice president and chief financial officer of Geely Holding Group, joined China Express as chief financial officer.
In addition to high-level changes, many talents are also tending to companies that produce smart cars. An engineer who is currently implementing a driverless driving project in a technology company said that after graduating from school, he joined a traditional car company. But the job content is always unsatisfactory and the salary is low. But when the market demand changed, he was recruited to a new place with a higher salary.
“If I change jobs again, I will choose a company in the new energy vehicle sector, or an Internet company that, for no other reason, makes more money than is okay.” he shared.
But on the other hand, many mechanical engineering students complain about the difficulty of finding a job and the low salary. These feelings are true, because the traditional car companies are even actually downsizing their businesses or not even hiring.
“I graduated from top school in vehicle engineering and joined a traditional car company. The salary is much lower than normal high school classmates who are working at a smart car company. Psychology of I’m a bit off balance.” An industry official said.
Earlier in September 2019, FAW-Volkswagen, a joint venture between FAW Group and Volkswagen Group to produce Audi and Volkswagen passenger cars for sale in China, announced that it would temporarily not recruit graduates. automotive engineering, mechanical engineering and other automotive majors in the school’s 2020 recruitment.
According to the “College Student Employment Report 2020” released by the China Employment Research Institute and Zhaolian Recruitment Company, the automobile and motorcycle industry ranks 9th in industries with poor employment situation for employees. university graduates.
The auto industry in China used to flourish. One headhunter says the best time for this job market is around 2010. New graduates can enter corporations like SAIC Group and can earn as little as 20 months’ salary per year. year. Currently, students of auto mechanics are no longer the most needed talent for auto companies. Low income and no longer sought after makes it also not the first choice of students.
Yang Luoen, currently studying for a master’s degree in mechanical engineering in China, and a former student of vehicle engineering shared: “I have 40 college friends. The corresponding employment rate for mechanical jobs is not worth much?”.
According to him, the general trend of the auto industry is demanding Internet and software talents, as well as other interdisciplinary talents. And mechanical engineers, even if they want to change direction, are not easy.
Because these things need to be self-taught. Because the courses at colleges and universities in China today are also fundamentally unrelated to new energy orientations and smart driving. Meanwhile, students need to study and practice to acquire these knowledge and skills.
“There is a lag between the academic world and industry”, shared Yang, is also why he wants to make up for this by continuing to study at a higher level.
China’s traditional auto industry can be said to be facing the dilemma of being eroded from all sides. When the first wave of new energy vehicle production appeared in China five years ago, it was also important to form a basic “mechanical” team to build vehicles. Their top personnel in the field were pulled away. Now, in the new scramble for both human resources and the market, they are also in a weak position.
Meanwhile, some electric vehicle companies have even decided to train their own talents by building and setting up R&D centers. Many companies like Xiaopeng Motor even “digged corners” with technical experts from big companies like Tesla.
In February, Ideal Automobile announced it would establish a research and development center in Shanghai, focusing on research and development of autonomous driving technology and next-generation intelligent cockpit technology. Currently, the recruitment of this center has begun, which is expected to have more than 2,000 employees. Weilai brand also has similar actions.
Recently, an unnamed employee at a new energy car company revealed to Chinese media that: “Several new energy car companies have entered a new round of competition. Demand for talent is concentrated in electronic architecture engineers, autonomous driving engineers and smart cockpit engineers. …”
It can be said that strange contradictions have appeared in the Chinese auto industry job market. On the one hand, the ruthless choice of the market leaves students and universities struggling to find new suitable directions. On the other hand, the electric vehicle companies themselves are also very passive. Exorbitant salaries to attract talent will increase costs, and public and secret competitions also raise the question of whether the value of the talent involved has been inflated.
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