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Electric vehicle job posting volumes in ZipRecruiter’s employment marketplace took a nosedive in 2019, falling by 36% after growing 93% in 2017 and 138% in 2018. 

The year has seen automakers industrywide struggle under the weight of slowing global growth and trade tensions. But EV manufacturers have faced an additional challenge: the reduction of Chinese subsidies for EVs, which had made them more cost-comparative with internal combustion engine vehicles and had been propping up sales in the world’s largest EV market.

These external pressures — along with various internal challenges — have hit the two largest U.S. EV producers, Tesla and General Motors, hard. Tesla’s share price slid from almost $350 in January to below $180 in June as the company announced losses, shuttered stores and battled logistical challenges. Tesla job openings tumbled over that period. They have recently picked up, but (like the share price) they have yet to recover fully.

Over at the Chevrolet division of GM, combined sales of Volt and Bolt electric vehicles were lower in the first nine months of 2019 than in the same period in 2018, and poor performance has hampered hiring.

Some foreign EV manufacturers’ recent difficulties also have led to hiring freezes or even job losses at plants and offices in the U.S. Chinese EV company NIO has reported heavy losses and slashed jobs, including at a now-shuttered office in Silicon Valley. Meanwhile, Nissan’s U.S. factories that produce the Leaf, among other models, have been expanding, but without adding jobs.

On the bright side, Tesla has reported a profit in the third quarter and announced a major recruiting push for electric vehicle battery engineers. So hiring at Tesla could end the year on a stronger note.

Over the long term, the EV outlook still looks bright, according to projections by Deloitte, BloombergNEF and the International Energy Agency. That is largely because the cost of manufacturing batteries is expected to fall sharply in coming years, which would make EVs cheaper, while new, tougher emissions standards in Europe and China make internal combustion engine vehicles relatively expensive.

Top 10 electric vehicle job titles on ZipRecruiter for 2019 YTD

1. Embedded software engineer

2. Automotive technician

3. Brand ambassador

4. Software engineer

5. Test engineer

6. Sales consultant

7. Electrical engineer

8. Embedded systems engineer

9. Engineer

10. Development engineer


Top 10 electric vehicle skills on ZipRecruiter for 2019 YTD

1. Electricity

2. Technical skills

3. Detail oriented

4. Customer service

5. Communication skills

6. Collaboration

7. Battery engineering

8. Troubleshooting

9. Motorizing

10. Innovation


Fastest-growing electric vehicle jobs from 2016 to 2019 YTD

1. Field engineer

2. Embedded systems engineer

3. Powertrain calibration engineer

4. Electrical project manager

5. Vice president of marketing

6. Design engineer

7. Brand ambassador

8. Diesel technician

9. CAD designer

10. Lead engineer


Top 10 metro areas for electric vehicle jobs in 2019 YTD

1. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA

2. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

3. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI

4. Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH

5. Fort Collins-Loveland, CO

6. Las Vegas-Paradise, NV

7. New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA

8. Tulsa, OK

9. Salt Lake City, UT

10. Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA