South Korean giants making batteries for many of the world’s electric vehicles are facing a skill shortage that could drag the global race to zero-emission vehicles. The country’s three major manufacturers, which control a third of the global electric vehicle battery market, told Reuters they are all grappling with a shortage of research and engineering talent as demand for the technology grows.
LG Energy Solution, SK Innovation and Samsung SDI are among the world’s top six battery manufacturers and supply a critical element of electric vehicles to companies such as Tesla, Volkswagen Group and Ford. However, they face growing demand from large car manufacturers and cannot find enough technicians with the training required to develop advanced technologies such as solid-state batteries.
“While we are seeing this kind of growth in the industry, it looks like we are facing a talent shortage,” said an LGES spokesman. “It is very important to attract external talent as well as develop our own talent.”
Indeed, the global battery sector has doubled in the past five years, and South Korea is short of nearly 3,000 PhD positions in fields such as research and design, according to the latest figures from the Korea Battery Manufacturers Association. LGES, SK and Samsung SDI currently employ approximately 19,000 people.
The Korean crisis reflects a growing talent shortage in the broader global battery market, which IHS Markit predicts will triple to nearly $ 90 billion by 2025.