The Durability of Automobility: How Automotive Tech Benefits from High-Tech Layoffs

         2022 has been a particularly tumultuous year in the global economy. Across the world, the Covid-19 pandemic drags on, and geopolitical disturbances fundamentally change the outlook of many national governments and international corporations. This year economists and analysts warn of a coming recession, wiping post lockdown gains from the major stock indexes in the US, Asia, and Europe. Major tech companies are feeling the squeeze, and corporations like Twitter and Meta have felt significant pressure and seen massive layoffs and suffering stock prices. Peculiarly, a fissure has formed between high tech and the world of automakers and automobility. While companies like Meta struggle, automakers and rental car companies continue to grow. Many in the industry can’t help but speculate on the ways in which the automobility sector can weather the storm facing high tech. However, are they asking the wrong question?

In the last 10 years or so, high tech has evolved into a sort of weathervane for indicating the health of the economy. Companies such as Apple, Google, Tesla, and Microsoft seem to serve as indicators for periods of economic growth and retraction, and their success is often tied to the general health of the global economy. Automakers were similarly prominent, having held these positions of power for decades. Over the past decade or two, the automotive and high tech spaces have become increasingly intertwined, birthing automobility and the high tech automotive sector. Crossing over between two formerly distinct industries, how does the automotive tech sector react, and potentially benefit from, the recent downturn in high-tech? This is a more intriguing and productive question for the automobility sector to ask, having serious implications for the future of automobility and the health of the sector despite a high-tech economic recession,

         Last month, billionaire Elon Musk took over Twitter in a deal valued at $44 billion and since then, the company has entered a spiral of layoffs and mass controversy. As of this past week, only 12 percent of Twitter’s pre takeover staff remain employed by the firm. Thousands of white collar employees have been laid off, from coders to top executives. Driven by Elon Musk’s controversial policies and firebrand rhetoric, more still have quit of their own volition, opting to move on to other jobs in the sector. Suddenly, thousands of high-tech employees have found themselves out of work, and where do they go? Meta, headed by Mark Zuckerberg, and the controlling interest in Facebook, Instagram, and the Metaverse virtual reality service, has suffered in kind. The company has experienced an enormous devaluation, with stock prices plunging over 65% from their peak in 2021. Going beyond controversial figures like Musk and Zuckerbeg, Marketwatch reports that Amazon, HP, and Google are expecting to make cuts over the next few years, and that there were nearly 60,000 tech layoffs in 2022, a comparable number to statistics from the Great Recession. Where do all these people go?

         To put it simply, there is a growing supply of experienced high-tech employees waiting to be hired. This is an opportunity for OEMs and automotive tech companies to fill the roles many of them stated they would be adding as many OEMs announced in the past two years that their strategic intent was to transform to high tech companies creating Software Defined Vehicles.

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The OEMs that made these announcements were faced with a significant challenge of finding qualified employees. Speaking to broad trends in high-tech, especially if the fears of recession come true, and automobility companies and OEMs continue to be resilient to economic challenges, a mass hiring of qualified high-tech employees may not just be on the horizon but may be achievable sooner than expected. The automotive technology and automobility sectors have exploded hand in hand with self-driving vehicles, EVs, battery development, and a myriad of other emerging and increasingly popular technologies. With over 2200 exhibitors from across the world and a  crowd expected to total over 100,000 people at the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show in January, the automobility sector needs to come prepared and in full force, ready to showcase their resilience to recession and an openness to taking advantage of where high-tech is faltering.

As the conditions of the economy and market continue to fluctuate and evolve, the ball is now in the court of the automotive industry and the automobility companies to take advantage of growth and profitability while other sectors are more vulnerable. EVs, autonomous drive, P2P carshare, battery companies, and a variety of other segments of automotive technology are growing at an explosive pace, with Forbes reporting that the market share for EVs more than doubled from 2.7% in Q2 of 2021 to 5.6% of Q2 in 2022. Looking to the future, these trends are expected to only increase, and all of the surrounding technological development will need to keep pace with public demand and government regulations.

To answer the questions stated earlier, automotive technology companies need to be ready to jump on opportunities created by high-tech’s recent struggles and come out of the tumultuous conditions of the last couple years optimistic and ready to compete in one of the world’s most promising industries.

And if you’d like help in finding the best tech talent, you can work with a specialized AutoMobility recruiting provider like Avant Future Mobility. They place hundreds of battery engineers, data scientists, software developers, and AI/ML experts into automotive companies large and small. Maybe they can help you too!

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