South Korean tech giants making batteries for electric vehicles from around the world are facing a shortage of experienced technicians. This could pose a major obstacle, which could partially paralyze the emerging “zero-emission” transport industry.
Three major South Korean manufacturers control a third of the global electric vehicle battery market. LG Energy Solution (LGES), SK On and Samsung SDI Co. Ltd., one of the six largest electric car battery manufacturers in the world, report that it is facing a shortage of scientists and engineers. Everyone already has a huge number of orders from car manufacturers, and it continues to grow. At the same time, companies simply cannot recruit the required staff. “While we are seeing this kind of growth in the industry, it looks like we are experiencing a talent shortage.”– said the representative of LGES.
Over the past five years, the global vehicle battery market has doubled, with South Korea alone lacking nearly 3,000 graduate-level professionals for research and industrial design in the field. In total, LGES, SK On and Samsung SDI currently employ about 19,000 people.
The crisis in Korea reflects a global trend – there is a shortage of relevant specialists around the world, while the battery market, according to IHS Markit forecasts, will grow to almost $ 90 billion by 2025. The EU estimates that by 2025 the industry will need about 800,000 new employees. At the same time, everywhere the demand for talent is many times greater than the supply.
Korean companies not only organize their own educational programs for the relevant profile, but also regularly raid countries like the United States to hunt for graduates of local universities. At the same time, business from Korea has to compete in this field with Chinese, Japanese, American and European “bounty hunters”.
The situation is aggravated by the fact that even qualified employees are fleeing their previous employers, flattered by the promises of a better life made by foreign competitors – all enterprises resort to the practice of enticing employees. In many companies, in addition to high salaries and good social packages, really talented personnel are immediately offered shares in companies.
Despite the shortage of personnel, manufacturers continue to increase output to meet the demand of the world’s largest markets such as America. LGES alone plans to achieve a total battery production capacity of 155 GWh by the end of this year and 430 GWh in 2025. It is estimated that the latter will be enough to equip about 7.2 billion electric vehicles.
Finally, SK Innovation intends to increase production fivefold by 2025, to 220 GWh, and intends to build three new factories in the United States in conjunction with Ford.