Tesla's shrinking overhead: job openings drop below 1,000 for first time as store closures loom

2 months ago by Joshua Fruhlinger in Facts, Trends

For the first time since we began tracking job openings at Tesla ($NASDAQ:TSLA) in 2016, job openings at the company have dipped below 1,000. As of March 5, there are 965 openings at Tesla Motors.

Just last May (2018), openings at Tesla hit an all-time high of 3,210 when the company was in the throes of production and manufacturing for its new Model 3 as demand outpaced production.

But this week, openings are at less than a third of that: 965 open positions as of March 5, 2019. This hiring slowdown comes as the company announced that it would be closing hundreds of its brick-and-mortar outlets in favor of e-commerce.

As for the hiring slowdown, some Tesla investors would tell you that this signals that the electric vehicle company is in a good place: manufacturing is under control, and supply is meeting demand. That's a scalable, long-future place to be.

The store closures can be seen as a positive as well. Savvy buyers are likely buying new Teslas digitally anyway, and Tesla storefronts are little more than just that: stores with a few customer service associates who will help you order a car — there are no test drives, sales managers, or service centers. In other words, Tesla will be shedding a lot of lease overhead in the move as it focuses on e-commerce.

In fact, our reporting has shown that Tesla has been hiring an e-commerce team at its Kato Road facility for some time now with a search for Software Engineers and front-end developers.

As for the shrinking retail footprint, Tesla Stores' retail strategy has been targeted on high-income, urban areas, with London and Shanghai leading a long list of cities with multiple stores.


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Put together, the slowing hiring activity and contraction of retail outlets are both signs of a company that's looking to reduce costs and find efficiencies if it expects to scale out. Time will tell if it works, especially as multiple competitors ready to enter the electric-vehicle space.

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Joshua Fruhlinger

Joshua has been writing about technology, lifestyle, and business for over 20 years. He's one of the original writers and editors for Engadget, and still writes a...

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