The EU’s climate targets, which have just recently been raised, call for strong and swift action on transport decarbonisation. Fortunately, electric vehicles have matured to become an easy solution to this issue and have already started contributing to emissions reductions as the e-mobility market has seen a dramatic rise in the past year.
However, some less ambitious stakeholders have been taking up a fight against e-mobility by claiming it would lead to job losses, which they think inevitable because EVs are simpler to manufacture. This myth has finally been debunked as the Platform for E-mobility has worked with the Boston Consulting Group on a comprehensive study to examine the jobs impact of a shift to EVs. This study encompasses the entire automotive supply chain, including OEMs, suppliers or maintenance professionals and adjacent industries like equipment providers, fuel and electricity producers, and infrastructure (including electrical contractors). This covers 26 industries and 5.7 million jobs.
This study works with rather conservative assumptions in terms of EV uptake by 2030 and focuses on passenger vehicles and light-duty vehicles. In the assumed scenario for EV growth, production volume would reach 17.1 million in 2030 with a market share of 59% for BEVs, 11% for PHEVs, 25% HEVs and 4% ICEs, and sales volume would be at 16.3 million units in 2030 with a market share of 46% for BEVs, 11% for PHEVs, 32% HEVs and 11% ICE. A more ambitious scenario would have brought these numbers up to 18.2 million and 17.5 million respectively.
Even considering this rather conservative approach, the study shows that job losses will be offset in the shift to e-mobility, even though some industries will be affected by net losses (OEMs and ICE-focused suppliers) while the rest of the value chain will be creating more jobs. On top of this, additional construction and installation work has not been counted in this assessment as only permanent positions have been factored in.
From EuropeOn’s perspective, this shows that the impact of e-mobility will be more than just positive for employment. Indeed, the construction and installation work that will be needed alongside permanent automotive jobs represents about 120k man-years (i.e. 1full-time job for 1 year) for electrical contracting businesses, evenly split between charging infrastructure deployment and additional energy production.
As EuropeOn has been claiming for a long time now, the energy transition represents a great opportunity for electrical contractors and for the European economy to prosper as we move towards a clean and sustainable future. But this requires accompanying measures to ensure our human capital can master this transition and reap its full benefits. In this regard, massive investments in skills and training will be needed to facilitate career transitions and scale up the available workforce to carry out the work ahead.
The study shows that about 2.8 million workers will need to be hired in the industry and 2.4 million positions will undergo changes in their work profiles. This means that massive skilling efforts are needed with support from both EU and national policymakers. The report states “It is key to support workers in this transition to electromobility: the EU, governments and companies should prioritise programs that will invest in the education, training, upskilling and reskilling of the labour force to capitalise on new opportunities, raise the bar on employment conditions, to ensure no one is left behind”.
This report was presented during an online event organised by the Platform for E-mobility on the 1st of July where EuropeOn Secretary General attended as a panellist and highlighted the jobs potential for electrical contractors and their need for skills support: “With this study, we foresee a bright future for the electrical contracting sector, provided that businesses and policymakers work hand in hand to provide the skills and promote the fast-evolving career paths in electro-mobility. As in all major industrial shifts, we need a just transition and we feel that the electrical contracting sector can help because we offer local jobs all across Europe.”