As the global electric vehicle (EV) market is growing rapidly, competition is heating up among global EV-related companies to hire Korean EV battery engineers. A few years ago, Chinese companies actively recruited Korean engineers. Now companies from Sweden, Germany and India are offering jobs to them.
Last year, three engineers of the battery management system (BMS) segment of LG Chem moved to Volvo of Sweden, said sources in the chemical industry on March 12. Volvo reportedly offered incentives and benefits such as shorter working hours and higher salaries to hire them. Volvo has announced that it would only release electric vehicles such as plug-in hybrids without rolling out internal combustion engine-powered vehicles beginning this year. Therefore, the company is aggressive in recruiting engineers specializing in batteries, which account for about one third of electric car prices.
Companies in emerging economies are coveting Korean workers, too. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), an information technology consulting company and a subsidiary of Tata Group in India, is constantly in contact with Korean engineers through LinkedIn, a business social network service (SNS). Tata Group is ramping up investment in electric cars and launched the Tigor EV through its subsidiary Tata Motors.
Infineon, a German chipmaker, is also trying to hire Korean electric car battery engineers through headhunters and LinkedIn. Infineon accounted for about 16 percent of the automotive semiconductor market in 2017 and is actively involved in securing BMS-related engineers in preparation for the coming electric vehicle era.
The global competition to secure Korean battery engineers is attributable to Korea's technological prowess and remarkable market share. SNE Research say that LG Chem accounts for 27.2 percent of the global electric car battery market excluding China, while Samsung SDI and SK Innovation claim fourth and sixth places with 9.6 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively. The three Korean battery makers are expanding facilities in Europe, China, and the United States. As global automakers such as Volkswagen have been placing orders for batteries, some automakers are having trouble securing enough batteries they need. In the year of 2018, the three Korean battery companies posted 100 trillion won in new electric vehicle battery orders.