Snow Bull Capital, a Boston-based hedge fund that invests in the green tech space, has developed a massive database that tracks the job postings of different companies. One of those companies is Tesla. Normally, Snow Bull keeps this information proprietary, but due to the fact that Tesla’s hiring sprees are already tracked a bit, the hedge fund decided to share its information on Tesla’s 2020–2021 job posting database with the public — and they gave CleanTechnica a first look.
Snow Bull tracked Tesla’s hiring over the past six quarters and noted that it’s been interesting to follow as Tesla builds Giga Berlin and Giga Texas. The real story, however, is in China, where Tesla’s real focus for 2021 is — when it comes to hiring people. To show this, the hedge fund used a heat map that reflected the volume of job openings at various Tesla locations. Although Fremont, Austin, and Berlin have consistently high volumes of job postings, Shanghai had the largest amount by the end of 2020 and leading into 2021.
Snow Bull noted that Giga Shanghai almost always outpaced other Tesla locations in terms of job postings, especially as recently as March of this year. In March, Elon Musk shared his thoughts in an interview about China being Tesla’s largest market in the long term. “China in the long term will be [Tesla’s] biggest market, both where we make the most number of vehicles and where we have the most number of customers.”
Snow Bull pointed out that it’s not surprising that Giga Shanghai is hiring more than all of Tesla’s other locations.
“Gigafactory Shanghai needs all the help it can get if Tesla wants to keep up with the growing competition in the largest EV market. S3XY models won’t be sexy forever, especially when domestic automakers can already give Chinese consumers what they want in a vehicle (and for a lot cheaper, in most cases).”
Types Of Jobs Tesla Posted
Tesla posted a variety of different job positions, but the hedge fund noted that jobs in the design field have been prominent in Texas, Berlin, and Shanghai. Tesla is working on designing market vehicles that are unique to Europe and China, and the recent job postings for designers and engineers — especially for the new R&D center in Shanghai — emphasize this assumption.
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In China, Tesla’s primary objective for the new R&D center is to create a Chinese style electric vehicle which could be Tesla’s first $25,000 model, Snow Bull pointed out. Another thing the hedge fund noticed was that although Tesla’s been hiring for the R&D team for a while, some posts reflect that Tesla hasn’t hired a Chief Designer or Senior Vehicle Designer for the new Chinese model. This shows that the car isn’t coming anytime soon, the company believes.
This can be seen as bad news, and it may be that Tesla is taking its time to make sure the right people fill these positions. However, Tesla is also known to do things differently and change things up, so we should also be aware that Tesla may have just decided to skip hiring for those positions or may be having people doing that work but with different titles.
Tesla’s Turnover Rate
Jobs with high turnover rates are usually considered to be bad — as in, they have horrible management and don’t really care about the employees. So, it’s notable that Snow Bull also tracked Tesla’s turnover rate. The only thing notable is that Tesla has increased job postings over the past few months for “Legal and Government Affairs” job positions. This suggests that Tesla could be shaking up its legal and compliance department.
Snow Bull explained, however, that most of the recent “Legal & Government Affairs” job posts are in China, which could be a result of Tesla being summoned by China’s State Administration for Market Regulation to talk about quality complaints back in February. Tesla may need more legal professionals to help it navigate the murky waters of the Chinese authorities in a peaceful manner.
Until last month, there were only 17 job postings in Tesla’s “Marketing & Communications” category in 2021. Considering Tesla’s stand on public relations, this isn’t a surprise. Last month, however, Tesla posted more jobs in that category than it had for the prior 16 months combined. All of the positions that were posted in May were in China. Snow Bull noted that 49% of Tesla’s “Marketing & Communications” positions posted since 2020 were for internships — 56% from January through May 2021, with two-thirds of them in May.
China Has Been The Focus Of Tesla Since Q3 2020
The fund emphasized that the clear takeaway from the data is that China has been becoming the focus of Tesla since the third quarter of 2020. That statement followed a map that showed which positions had been filed and which remained opened. Here’s what Snow Bull had to say about this:
“We typically see jobs that require more experience remain open longer; low-skilled and entry-level positions typically fill faster. In the U.S., remote and energy installation positions in areas where Tesla/SolarCity never had a presence appear to fill much faster than bigger hubs. Tesla appears to have filled a lot of positions in Europe. Clusters of red dots suggest new showrooms and service centers opening, which tend to have much higher turnover rates in Europe (the same positions/Req. IDs at the same locations, so red followed by green). In China, many positions posted since November remain open.”
The hedge fund also pointed out that Tesla posted several job openings in the Yangtze Delta in January 2021. Most of these are still open today. Following the initial job openings, Tesla posted more in late February and early March in the Pearl River Delta — these also remain open as of now. This is what led Snow Bull to point out that China is the focus of Tesla in the realm of jobs. Most positions are unfilled and Tesla is recruiting all over China. Tesla had actually been recruiting directly form Chinese universities since December 2020.
“We have not seen Tesla do this, especially at that scale. 44.6% of these Chinese university positions are summer 2021 internships. Still, though, the rest are assumed to be positions for which Tesla is trying to recruit students directly after graduation. This is a common practice for major MNCs in China, to which Tesla has finally caught on.”
It’s an interesting analysis, especially since Elon Musk announced that Tesla was hiring for thousands of positions at Giga Texas. The fact that a company is hiring for such a large volume in one city can be a distraction — and can make it seem like that particular city will have the most jobs. Compared to China, though, it seems that Texas is just a speck of what Tesla is doing there.