Tesla’s Berlin hub can’t hire or keep enough people

Like Elon Musk try to manage twitter after massive layoffs in Novemberits flagship company Tesla is also facing staffing issues globally, with vacancies doubling since mid-June, coupled with exits at its newest gigafactory in Germany.

When the Berlin gigafactory opened in March, it aimed to produce 5,000 vehicles a week by the end of this year. But it is far from having achieved its objectives after having faced major recruitment problems: the company has so far only managed to hire 7,000 people out of the 12,000 planned. This lack of personnel is added to lack ambitious production targets; in 2022 Musk said German media he planned to build half a million Teslas in Berlin in 2022.

The company is also losing experienced staff, according to former and current gigafactory employees. They say current employees are quitting their jobs due to low, unequal pay and inexperienced management in Germany’s highly competitive manufacturing sector. Tesla did not respond to WIRED’s requests for comment.

A current employee, who requested anonymity for fear of losing his job, describes the Berlin gigafactory as “utter chaos”. “Some people are on sick leave longer than they actually worked. There are people I haven’t seen work for three weeks in six months. A lot of people are called in sick because the motivation isn’t there,” they say, blaming poor working conditions. The exits concern temporary and permanent employees in place for more than a year, hired before the opening of the gigafactory, they say.

Worldwide, Tesla hit a record number of vacancies for the year in November, listing nearly 7,500 jobs. That’s double the posts in mid-June, according to data from its own website. Although most of those vacancies were in the United States, Germany was in second place, with 386 vacancies advertised at the Berlin plant on November 11, including one for a “high-volume recruiter.”

Local labor experts say Tesla is unlikely to be able to find more skilled workers to fill the void, as it is seen as an unattractive employer in Germany’s heavily unionized auto sector, and it competes with rival automaker Volkswagen for skilled workers in Berlin. Region. The nearby Frankfurt (Oder) Job Center said on Oct. 4 that Tesla had already hired 1,000 former unemployed workers, calling it “the biggest recruitment project since reunification”, and according to some reports Tesla is already the largest private employer in Brandenburg.

According to the German metalworkers’ union IG Metall, Tesla pays 20% less than similar companies based on staff contracts and job descriptions. Birgit Dietze, representative of IG Metall, wrote in a press release in June: “We know from the active members of IG Metall that recruitment is not going at the expected speed.”

Holger Bonin, research director at the Bonn-based Institute of Labor Economics, said it was a problem with the specialized labor market in the country in general, not helped by the fact that many skilled workers in the Berlin area can easily get to Volkswagen. main factory in Wolfsburg instead.

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