Updated: Nov 19, 2020
General Motors, the 110-year-old American automaker, announced plans to hire 3,000 workers to build and launch about 20 new electric vehicles by 2023. GM said earlier this year that it would spend about $20 billion to mass produce electric and autonomous vehicles by 2025.
The hiring will be primarily focused on production and software engineering, but also includes roles throughout the organization. The types of jobs include electrical system engineers, infotainment software engineers and Java and Android developers, as well as a variety of tech professionals, designers and others.
The mostly white-collar potential employees will work remotely throughout the U.S. Ken Morris, the vice president of autonomous and electric vehicle programs, said, “We have a lot of flexibility on where we can draw talent from. We can get the best people and they can live where they want to live.”
Morris’ statement echoes what we’ve previously heard from Facebook, Twitter and other major corporations. After experimenting with working from home or remotely from anywhere, management has realized that this mode of work can continue for a large number of people. This may be one of the most substantial positive changes coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic.
At the end of September, Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, announced the state “will phase out gasoline-powered cars and drastically reduce demand for fossil fuel in California’s fight against climate change.” An executive order proclaimed all new passenger cars and trucks sold in the state must be emission-free by 2035. A press release from Newsom said the governor is committed to “lowering carbon emissions,” to reach the state’s “air quality and climate goals.”
California has often led social and environmental changes for the nation. It's reasonable that other states will soon follow Newsom’s lead. Clearly, this puts pressure on other automakers to retrofit their plants to mass produce electric vehicles. In addition to the environmental benefits, vehicle manufacturers have seen the massive success of Tesla that has run away with this sector and sense the urgency to catch up and reclaim their relevance to consumers.
A Biden victory should greatly help GM in their efforts. A big plank in Biden’s “Build Back Better” platform calls for billions—and possibly trillions—of dollars to be allocated toward green, clean energy. Morris said, “We’re looking forward to working with the Biden administration and supporting policies that will foster greater adoption of EVs across all 50 states and encourage investments in R&D and manufacturing.” He added, “At the end of the day, climate change is a global concern and the best way to remove automobile emissions from the environmental equation is all-electric, zero-emissions future.”
You’ve probably already seen the ads for GM’s all-electric GMC Hummer EV. The oversized rugged truck that was a brief big seller over a decade ago is leading the new electric vehicle lineup. Some of the other electric cars will include a Cadillac Escalade SUV, pickups and a new version of the Bolt EV.
There may be a downside for some GM workers. In addition to being environmentally friendly, electric cars require less parts and don’t require as much human labor, as robotics and technology can do a great deal of the manufacturing. This makes the vehicles more profitable. "EVs require about 30% less labor and significantly less parts and complexity in the manufacturing process, compared to internal combustion engine vehicles,” which could portend some downsizing or reallocating job functions for some employees.
Ingenuity, manufacturing in the U.S. and the oversight of climate change are all coming together to create net new jobs and help improve the economy.
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