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Talent Crunch in South Korea Could Strangle EV Battery Supplies Worldwide

A talent shortage in the Korean EV battery-making market is said to be reflective of an overall shortage across the entire global battery ecosphere which, at least according to IHS Markit forecasters, will require significant "re-/up-skilling" as that battery industry needs some 800,000 new workers by 2025.
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IHS also says the demand for EV batteries will triple in size to nearly $90 billion by 2025.

They add that should the global skills gap not be addressed, it will slow the pace of advances in such batteries.

"Talent demand in the battery industry outweighs supply, and battery makers are anxious to ensure that they have got this small group of people who can work on this technology and won't be left behind in the fast-growing market," says analyst Cho Hyun-ryul of Samsung Securities.

As an example, LGES - South Korea's No.1 battery maker in production - says they’ll be launching a "battery-smart factory department" at Korea University next spring and guarantee jobs for graduates. And in addition, executives from the company have been visiting the United States to conduct recruiting events at a number of schools. The CEO of LGES CEO and top management spent time in Los Angeles last month, and SK Innovation’s top exec and staff hosted a like event in San Francisco last weekend.

Employees with doctoral degrees in battery specialties can pull in as much as $85,000 (100 million won) a year.

One factor is competition for talent from established Asian firms such as China’s CATL and Japan's Panasonic.

Experts say this talent shortage in South Korea is being exacerbated by the fact that a number of current employees are moving on to foreign competitors in search of better pay.

"Although we are seeing such a growth in the industry, it appears that we are facing a shortage of talent," one LGES spokesperson told Reuters. "It’s crucial to recruit external talents as well as nurturing our own talent."

As the global battery sector has doubled in size over just the last five years, South Korean firms find themselves is short of nearly 3,000 graduate degree-level positions. The firms say most of the jobs are in research and design. As of this moment, LGES, SK Innovation, and Samsung SDI are said to have a total of about 19,000 employees.


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