Looking to Work on Self-Driving Cars? These Companies Are Hiring

October 14, 2016, 2:31 PM UTC
Self-Driving Cars-California
FILE - In this May 13, 2015, file photo, Google's new self-driving prototype car is introduced at the Google campus in Mountain View, Calif. California regulators have changed course and in redrafted regulations released late Friday, Sept. 30, 2016, opened a pathway for the public to get self-driving cars of the future that lack a steering wheel or pedals. It’s not going to happen soon, because automakers and technology companies are still testing prototypes. The redrafted regulations will be the subject of a public hearing next Oct. 19 in Sacramento. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File)
Tony Avelar—AP/File

General Motors and Google have the most online listings for autonomous vehicle technology jobs—nearly double their closest competitors, Ford Motor and Robert Bosch—an indication that both companies are accelerating efforts to develop driverless car technology.

The data shared with Fortune comes from Indeed Hiring Lab, a research arm of Indeed, the employment search engine that has 16 million job listings worldwide. The data is a snapshot of global postings for autonomous vehicle-related jobs in October.

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There are more than 2,000 job postings related to autonomous vehicles, according to Indeed Hiring Lab. However, the actual number of these jobs likely far exceeds that figure because one listing can be for multiple positions.

GM had the most online listings for autonomous vehicle jobs, with more than 11% of the total postings, followed by Google with 9.4%, and Ford and Bosch, both with 6.4%. Atieva, a Silicon Valley startup that plans to unveil its first electric vehicle by the end of this year, rounds out the top five with 5.5% of total postings for autonomous vehicle jobs.


The complete list of companies looking for autonomous vehicle-related talent shows a diverse mix of tech giants, major automakers, auto suppliers, mapping companies, self-driving car and ride-hailing startups, and even insurance firms. Nearly 100 companies currently have job listings related to autonomous vehicles.

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The job listing numbers only provide one slice of data, not the complete picture of where these companies stand in the race to develop self-driving car technology or how their investments stack up to rivals.

Take GM and Google. The two companies have taken wildly different approaches to autonomous vehicle technology.

Google (GOOG) launched its self-driving car project in 2009, with aspirations to commercialize fully autonomous vehicle technology by 2020. Google has been public about its progress, providing a monthly report of accidents and other updates, as well as testing on public roads near its Mountain View, Calif. headquarters. It has since expanded testing to three other U.S. cities.

Technically, Google’s self-driving car project is still housed under X, a research and development subsidiary that pursues moonshot ideas. It’s unclear when the project will leave X and transition into a company. It named a CEO last year and is now entering a new phase that includes the development of 100 self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans. At least some of the jobs are due to that transition.

Meanwhile, GM (GM) has been working on developing autonomous vehicle technology largely away from public view, which, until recently, made it difficult to assess its level of investment or plans in this area. Outwardly, it appeared the company was more focused on developing semi-autonomous driving technology, such as its hands-free, pedals-free highway driving feature Super Cruise, which is expected to debut next year in the Cadillac CT6.

If the company had any ambitions to commercialize autonomous vehicle technology, it wasn’t widely known—and certainly not as public as Google’s project, which was already well underway.

That changed in 2014. GM’s newly minted CEO Mary Barra spoke to Fortune’s Alan Murray in October 2014 about connected cars—where it’s been a leader—and the imminent arrival of autonomous vehicles. The following year, GM announced several initiatives designed to look beyond the traditional relationship consumers have with their cars, including plans to test autonomous vehicles and experiment with car- and ride-sharing programs.

Since last October, GM has partnered with and invested $500 million into ride-hailing company Lyft, introduced a car-sharing service, Maven, created an engineering team dedicated to autonomous driving, and acquired self-driving car tech startup Cruise Automation for more than $1 billion. Cruise Automation has been testing autonomous technology on GM’s upcoming all-electric Chevrolet Bolt EV in San Francisco since at least May, and has since expanded to Phoenix.

“Autonomous is an important piece of our technology plan going forward and we continue to invest in the area, especially when it comes to attracting talent,” GM spokesman Kevin Kelly said. For example, Cruise Automation had about 40 employees when it was acquired. There are now more than 100 people working there, and Kelly said the company plans to continue to grow that team.

Self-driving cars are blowing up the industry:

Job postings in this field will likely continue to climb, if the number of company announcements on self-driving cars is an indication of future investment.

For example, Ford (F) announced in August that it plans to produce self-driving cars for commercial ride-sharing or on-demand taxi services by 2021, a target the automaker says it will reach by expanding its Silicon Valley research lab, as well as investing in or buying autonomous vehicle technology startups.

Ford’s research lab opened in January 2015 with just 15 employees, and has since grown to more than 130 people. Ford CEO Mark Fields says that number will double by the end of next year.

Despite all of this activity, demand for these highly specialized jobs still outpaces the supply in the U.S. In Germany and France, there are more jobs than skilled workers, according to the data from Indeed.

Indeed Hiring Lab also gathered data of all jobs related to autonomous driving vehicles, and looked at postings per million to get a sample set of what are thousands of jobs. What they found in the U.S. was more interest than available jobs.



“This bodes well for the industry, knowing that these jobs are getting so much interest from job seekers,” Daniel Culbertson, an economic research analyst with Indeed Hiring Lab told Fortune.

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