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    Shortage of top talent may be e-cars' next big problem

    Synopsis

    Despite the government’s thrust for electric vehicles, a shortage of top-tech talent could be new problem.

    Startups in this space are also active in attracting talent.
    NEW DELHI: Despite the government’s thrust for electric vehicles (EVs), a shortage of top-tech talent may act as a roadblock.

    Search firms are being forced to look overseas for talent- France, Germany, Japan and China. This being a greenfield domain, the supply of EV experts on design, product, infrastructure, storage is not enough, reflecting on the pay packages being offered.

    Companies such as Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, TVS Motor, Continental, Maruti Suzuki along with start-ups like Tork and Ather Energy are either hiring top tech talent or building a pipeline to lead the EV initiatives.

    Search firms including Transearch, EMA Partners, Hunt Partners, Xpheno and Michael Page are scouting for talent on behalf of their clients who are willing to pay upwards of about $500,000 per annum. Hunt Partners (an executive search firm) is currently looking for a head, on behalf of a global OEM in India where its client is willing to pay a package of $1 million per annum (` 6.8 crore).

    “We are forced to look for talent outside India due to a dearth within the country,” Suresh Raina, partner at Hunt Partners, told ET. EVs also got traction in the recently-announced budget, where the finance minister proposed a GST cut from 12% to 5% on EV.

    “EV development is at a nascent stage in India, almost every organisation will face a challenge in terms of EV talent acquisition and development,” said CV Raman, senior executive director, engineering, Maruti Suzuki India. Maruti Suzuki along with other major auto players including Tata Motors, Kinetic Motors, Audi, MG Motors, Volvo and Nissan are gearing up to launch their own EVs over the next two years, as reported by ET earlier.

    “Companies which want to smoothly transition into this new phase of manufacturing need to ensure that they work backwards towards preparing a future-ready workforce,” said R Anandakrishnan, senior vice president -human resources and information technology, TVS Motor.

    “Organisations are looking for overseas talent after exhausting the local Indian options… mainly professionals in similar roles in Germany, China, Japan, France, America and Sweden,” said Dinesh Yegireddi, associate director, Michael Page India.

    Such is the demand that auto and auto ancillary companies are also open to hiring global experts on advisory roles due to a dearth of talent, according to A Ramachandran, senior partner, EMA Partners. EMA is working on at least 4 mandates across the value chain.

    As a result, companies like TVS Motor, Maruti, Continental and startups like Tork and Ather are compelled to simultaneously build a pipeline for EV talent.

    For instance, the Institute of Quality and Leadership at TVS Motor Company has mapped out the skills (including for EVs) that are required for the future.

    “Only with the growth of EV sector in India will we see a substantial increase in the EV-specific talent pool. It is not always about bringing in new talent but also reskilling existing talent,” Anurag Garg, head - Powertrain, Continental India, said.

    Startups in this space are also active in attracting talent. “There is enough talent available for EV sector, we just need to identify them,” said a spokesperson at Tork, which has showcased T6X, soon to be launched electrical motorcycle. Currently, Tork is not only busy with the launch of its electric motorcycle but also setting up charging infrastructure in Pune.

    Another upcoming EV startup, Ather Energy is in the space of EV scooters with operations in Bengaluru and Chennai. “We will continue to invest in the right talent to build superior products in the future. We also continue to add more talent in the business and operation functions across the country as we grow,” said Swapnil Jain, co-founder, Ather Energy.

    With the hardware base in place, Ather’s focus is on building a strong software and intelligence team. “We are also scouting for techno-commercial operation roles to build multiple new products,” said Jain.

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    46 Comments on this Story

    john tarun383 days ago
    most engineers who come out aren''t skilled in communication or even technical skills. so they need to be upgraded. also encourage to convert available petrol engines to hybrid to push middle class and also not close down petrol auto repair guys who are big vote bank.
    mickky384 days ago
    Crazy, out of 1.6 lets consider 10% related population and if they can''t find or groom it then its government problem, Ha Ha HA.....
    Vijayaraghavan G385 days ago
    Utter rubbish article and waste of time. Indian industrialists are basically traders who want to buy cheap in China and sell high in India making an assured profit. Unless Indians do something on their own, they will never learn and will have to always look outside till the end of time. Well, if we can do a Train 18 in a public sector agency, why can''t the much-touted private sector be as creative?
    The Economic Times