Demand for still-strong autonomous vehicle jobs dips for the first time since 2015

Job postings increased by 833%, searches by 450%, but need appears to have stabilized.

How autonomous vehicles could co-exist with traditional cars in the near future Car & Driver Editor-in-Chief Eddie Alterman talks about the role he sees for autonomous cars in the future, and what he thinks will happen to human-driven vehicles.

It's nice to be wanted, and with autonomous vehicle job postings increasing by 833% between 2015 and 2019, skilled job seekers had little difficulty finding work in the industry. Even though a recent poll by Indeed suggested a slight slowing from 2018 to 2019 (19% in job postings, 20% in job searches), it could be an indicator of stabilization, rather than concern. 

To draw the research conclusions, Indeed identified the percentage change in the share of US job postings and job searches relating to autonomous vehicles, from January 2015 to January 2019. 

SEE: How smart tech is transforming the transportation industry (TechRepublic Premium)

Interest and investment in the sector remains strong, with state transportation agencies building new test facilities and the global autonomous vehicle market predicted to reach $556 billion by 2026.

Who's hiring?

Who's hiring? The mobility technology company Aptiv leads the autonomous vehicle job market for the second year in a row, with the most job postings (21.7%) over competitors. The company recently celebrated 50,000 driverless Lyft rides in cars outfitted with Aptiv's technology, following a collaboration several years ago. 
 
Aptiv is advancing its software, computing platform, and artificial intelligence (AI) technology. There are also plans to renovate the company's facility in Troy, Michigan, as well as opening a new hub in China, creating 500 US. jobs. In addition, Aptiv announced an intent to share the world's largest public dataset on autonomous driving data.  

Second for the second year in a row is Nvidia, a company, which makes hardware and software for self-driving vehicles. Also a leader in the gaming space, Nvidia established itself as a leader in providing advanced technologies to automakers' developing autonomous capabilities. 
 
Nvidia once provided the chips used to power the AI-driving capabilities of Tesla vehicles, before Tesla decided to develop their own technology. Nvidia recently signed a deal with Volvo to collaborate on technology for self-driving trucks, and deepened a relationship with Toyota, where it will support the automaker's hardware needs, as well as the development process and workflow.

To analyze how companies ranked in hiring for autonomous vehicles, Indeed identified which companies had the highest share of job postings relating to autonomous vehicles by calculating the percentage of national autonomous vehicles postings from January 2018 to January 2019. 

These collaborations demonstrate a necessity in autonomous-vehicles work field, which is a partnership between some of the world's most advanced AI technology with a traditional US. industry, auto manufacturing. 

Top autonomous vehicle employers

The top autonomous vehicle employers on Indeed's list reflect that collaboration of tech companies and automotive companies:

  1. Aptiv (tech)
  2. Nvidia (tech)
  3. SAIC Innovation Center (tech)
  4. Bosch (tech)
  5. Daimler AG (automotive)
  6. Cruise Automation (tech)
  7. General Motors (automotive)

Tech companies, and the automotive industries have traditionally been located in different areas of the country and world, so the effect of the partnerships were examined by Indeed and hubs with the largest share of autonomous vehicles were analyzed.

Indeed assessed how those partnerships were addressed, and identified which metro areas had the highest share of job postings for autonomous vehicles jobs, based on the percent of national job postings each Metro area had over the past year January 2018 to January 2019. 

"Indeed data shows there is demand for roles related to autonomous vehicles in metro areas across the US," said Raj Mukherjee, SVP of Product at Indeed.

Area with most autonomous vehicle jobs

Unsurprisingly, the area with the most autonomous vehicle jobs, for the second year in a row, with nearly one-third of all jobs is San Jose- Sunnyvale-Santa Clara (i.e. heart of Silicon Valley) with 31.8%, followed by Pittsburgh (14.9%), Detroit (16.4%), San Francisco (9.4%), Portland (2.8%), and Boston (2.6%). Nvidia and SAIC Innovation Center are both based in the number one area.

Steel producing Pittsburgh came in second, with Detroit (a.k.a. "Motor City) third, a drop from second last year. Pittsburgh is also home to the autonomous vehicle tech firms Aptiv, Aurora, and Argo, as well as Uber's advance technology group.

Most-wanted skills

Do you have the goods to work in the autonomous vehicle field? After examining the most-wanted job skills in autonomous vehicle job postings (from January 2018 to January 2019), Indeed calculated those skills starting with most-wanted:

  • C or C++
  • Python
  • Linux
  • software development
  • Matlab
  • machine learning
  • ADAS
  • Git

Despite the minutia of the findings, which indicate a potential of a slowing need for autonomous vehicle jobs, Indeed's research suggests it is a stabilization of the industry, rather than a genuine lack of work, and unearthed the top companies and top locations for those jobs, as well as the skills employees need to land those jobs. 

"Though the data from this year shows there has been a slight dip in demand, it does not mean that there will be a slowdown in demand for job seekers interested in pursuing a role in this industry," Mukherjee said.  "It could instead be an indication of stabilization in the field." 

Also see

young woman using a smart phone in a autonomous car. driverless car. self driving vehicle. heads up display. automotive technology.

Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto