Elon Musk’s ability to send Twitter employees running for the door has been well publicized, but it looks like the CEO is also struggling with similar problems at Tesla, specifically at its German gigafactory.
One source, an employee at the Berlin site who requested anonymity over fears of losing their job, described the situation at the European gigafactory to Wired as “total chaos,” and claimed some staff members have been off sick longer than they’ve worked, being present for only a handful of weeks in six months.
The report claims that vacancies at Tesla have doubled since June globally and that the firm has only managed to recruit 7,000 of a planned 12,000 employees at the Berlin site, which is hampering productivity targets. Tesla had hoped to be pushing out 5,000 Model Ys per week by the end of 2022, but as of October, it was building fewer than half that number, just 2,000 units, making the German plant appear uncompetitive next to other Tesla factories. Tesla data tracker Troy Teslike highlights that Giga Shanghai reached the 20,000-unit production milestone in only 100 days, whereas Giga Texas required 151 days, and Giga Berlin took 187 days.
Related: Fire At Tesla’s Berlin Gigafactory Could Be The Last Nail In The Coffin For Musk’s German Expansion Plans
One of Tesla’s major obstacles to attracting talent is that it’s seen as less desirable than other automakers. German metalworkers union IG Metall claims that Tesla pays 20 percent less than similar businesses, and that’s a major problem when the region is not short of employment opportunities. “There is a shortage of qualified workers everywhere,” Holger Bonin, research director at the Institute of Labor Economics, Bonn, told Wired. “Everyone who could be employed is already employed. That makes it very difficult to fill jobs.”
And even the employees Tesla has managed to recruit aren’t staying for long. Former employees who have opted to leave cite the management team’s lack of experience and sudden changes in working patterns that employees with children struggle to accommodate, for their decision to find work elsewhere.