Demand for Engineering Graduates with Required Skills Could Be up to Six Times That of the Expected Supply, According to BCG
DETROIT—Self-driving and electric cars will help create more than 100,000 US mobility industry jobs in the coming decade, including up to 30,000 jobs for engineers with degrees in computer-related subjects. But the demand could be as much as six times the expected number of such graduates, exacerbating the industry’s already significant talent shortage, according to research from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Detroit Mobility Lab (DML).
Cars of the future will be very different from today’s automobiles. By 2030, more than 20% of them will have plug-in hybrid or battery-powered electric engines, and more than 10% will be self-driving, excluding partially autonomous cars. As cars and other forms of mobility become more complex, they will require engineers with more sophisticated systems-level skills, according to BCG and DML.
Like the US mobility industry, other industries are modernizing and looking to attract and retain such engineers and skilled trade workers. “Companies cannot delay defining what their workforce needs will be for the next few years so they can begin to plan accordingly. Those that delay could find it difficult to compete,” said Xavier Mosquet, the Detroit-based BCG senior partner who led the research. “Jobs will also be created where talent is developed.”
The Mobility Industry Needs Not Just New Jobs but Also New Skills
Additional key findings of the research conducted by BCG and DML include the following:
Cities Must Take Steps to Become Mobility Industry Talent Hubs
Cities that can develop and attract engineers and other talent with in-demand skills will become job magnets. Areas around, for example, Silicon Valley, Boston, and Pittsburgh already attract talent because of technology institutes located there that are doing mobility research, such as Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Carnegie Mellon University, respectively. Traditional automakers that have located their own technology operations to these talent hubs include GM, which runs its Cruise Automation outpost in Silicon Valley, and auto parts manufacturer Aptiv, which opened a tech lab in Boston.
Automotive hubs such as Detroit and its surrounding areas have the potential to remain at the center of the expanding mobility industry. But they must develop more of the talent that the mobility industry needs in order to retain their standing. The Detroit area has already taken such steps, including supporting AV test facilities from American Center for Mobility and the University of Michigan’s Mcity. Ford recently announced it would turn a former railroad station in downtown Detroit into a 1.2 million square-foot smart-vehicle innovation hub. To go along with such activities, the city must also provide higher-education programs that produce graduates with the integrated engineering skills that the industry needs.
A more detailed report will be published later this year.
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Detroit Mobility Lab is committed to the future of mobility and Detroit’s place in it. We believe that building the mobility talent infrastructure necessary to shape the future mobility sector is a key part of this commitment, and our goal is to create one of the world’s foremost mobility technology ecosystems in the City of Detroit. To learn more about what we believe and why now is the time to focus on the effort, visit www.detroitmobilitylab.org.
Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global management consulting firm and the world's leading advisor on business strategy. We partner with clients from the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors in all regions to identify their highest-value opportunities, address their most critical challenges, and transform their enterprises. Our customized approach combines deep insight into the dynamics of companies and markets with close collaboration at all levels of the client organization. This ensures that our clients achieve sustainable competitive advantage, build more capable organizations, and secure lasting results. Founded in 1963, BCG is a private company with offices in more than 90 cities in 50 countries.