What a private Tesla could mean for employees and the company's future

6 months ago by Connor Ibbetson in Facts

Earlier this week, head of SpaceX and Tesla ($NASDAQ:TSLA) Elon Musk tweeted his plans to take Tesla private. The tweet has so far been liked 84,000 times and retweeted another 16,000 times. It's also garnered more than 6,000 comments.

But what does this mean?

What this means is that shares in Tesla would stop being traded on the open market. A company going private usually occurs when stakeholders in the company decide there is little or no advantage in remaining a publicly traded company.

In an email to Tesla employees, Musk claimed that going private was about “creating the environment for Tesla to operate best.”

By becoming a private company, Tesla would be free of the quarterly earnings cycle reporting, which Musk argued meant the company could make better long-term decisions as opposed to focusing on ‘short term goals’.

Musk went on to label changing stock prices as a “major distraction” to Tesla employees, who all hold shares in the company.

Musk claimed shareholders would be offered $420 a share, well above the market value at the time - giving Tesla a value of 80 billion dollars and meaning the move would be one of the biggest buyouts in history.

The suggestion, made on the CEO’s Twitter account, caused a spike in share prices. Prices have since cooled - and even sunk - since going back on the market.

But how would those employees — shares and all — feel about what Musk is proposing to investors, and to them?

Looking at data collected from Glassdoor, employee outlook on the future of Tesla has dropped in recent months.

Employees with a positive outlook on the future of the business have steadily declined in the past year. Just 54% percent of employees report a positive outlook on the future of Tesla.

Employee ratings of Elon Musk also remain 10% lower than this time last year - depite promises from the CEO that employees would not be forced to sell their shares in Tesla. 

Company hiring patterns can reveal huge amounts about coming changes, what can we learn from Tesla's open job listings?  Tesla saw a huge spike in listings in May of this year, but that has since dropped off.

Listings for new engineers rose following the drop in May, likely as Tesla continues to increase its production to meet high demand for the Tesla Model 3.

Listings for new technicians have also been on the rise since May, with openings for an additional 100 new technicians since this time last year.

Looking at location, hiring has positively surged in Sparks, Nevada - home of the Tesla Gigafactory where the company makes batteries for its vehicles. The number of open positions at the Gigafactory is almost level with its peak in May. 

On the flipside, hiring at the Tesla plant in Fremont has slumped and remains low, unlike its Nevada-based cousin the Gigafactory. The facility in Fremont California is the primary production facility for Tesla and is home to about 10,000 of Tesla's employees.

Connor Ibbetson

An avid data fan, Connor is a London based journalist finishing his masters in Interactive Journalism. If he's not making graphs or cleaning data, you'll probably...

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