With the last decade of activity from the automotive industry, there’s no question it has undergone radical changes regarding its approach to environmental sustainability. An industry that even a few decades ago was all about excess — from vehicle size to horsepower — is shifting, and Generation Z is “driving” the world toward what many see as a necessary change.
What many may not see, however, is how Generation Z is also innovating technologies and solutions for the automotive industry. As one of the first generations to be raised on modern technology, Gen Z brings new skills and fresh perspectives necessary to promote further changes in the industry, from comfort with newer computer systems and software languages that control the latest vehicles on the EV market to the fundamental way that work is done.
A new demographic of automotive employees
Gen Z is a remarkably tech-savvy and computer-literate generation. As they enter the workforce, they continue to fill crucial roles in the automotive industry left by their predecessors, including engineering and operations.
“With the automotive industry changing and the ecosystem of what is involved broadening, the EV Charging industry is becoming a core ‘automotive’ system. The approach to product development and operations across the ecosystem will have to shift,” says Alisyn Malek, COO of SkillFusion, a software platform designed for the EV service equipment (EVSE) market. “A big shift needs to include training the people that keep these systems up and running. Technological advancements have to inform how operations specialists are trained and deployed in this industry.”
The increased use of EVs and the need for trained and skilled technicians to support the design, build, and maintenance not only of the vehicles but also the charging infrastructure has opened the door wide for Gen Z to step in and cement their place in the future of the automotive industry. Because they were born after the creation of the internet and had a higher likelihood of access to a computer, Gen Z has grown up amid the hyper-acceleration of technological innovation of the early 21st century.
Now, as older Gen Z’ers enter their twenties — and the workforce — they bring innovative solutions, problem-solving, tech skills, and a sustainable perspective to the table. “The industry is ripe for their influence,” says Malek, “particularly in the skilled trades sector.”
Preparing the industry for Gen Z
While Gen Z’s skills may be ready for the modern automotive age, the automotive industry itself may not yet be completely prepared for Gen Z. It’s a gap that Malek and her team at SkillFusion have tried to bridge with their platform, which seeks to fix the EV charging infrastructure issue with an infusion of skilled, certified EV charging technicians.
As EVs grow in popularity, the industry must also properly maintain the charging infrastructure they require to keep it up and running efficiently. “To keep EVSE operational, the sector needs highly skilled and specially certified technicians available and ready to work,” Malek says, “and, with their general comfort with computers, Gen Z is uniquely positioned to fill those necessary roles.”
The industry will need to gain an understanding of how Gen Z workers see the world, which has been reported to be notably different from how previous generations viewed work, innovation, or solutions engineering. While Baby Boomers or Generation X may be more used to searching through a manual fix to a maintenance issue, Gen Z is far more comfortable jumping straight to digital solutions and searching the internet for guidance. With the EV market being heavily dependent on digital platforms, Gen Z has a key perspective to devise future solutions for increased sustainability, charging infrastructure uptime, and overall mileage.
Gen Z is also the first generation to show widespread commitment to global sustainability initiatives. Being raised through the digital boom of the 2000s and 2010s, Gen Z has had eyes on climate change throughout most of their lives, giving them keen insights into the benefits technology like EVs can bring.
Ushering in the new era
By understanding the value this younger generation can bring to the EV and EVSE markets, Malek is confident that she and her team can continue spearheading the automotive industry’s ever-growing shift toward a more reliable, efficient, and sustainable future. She and her team at SkillFusion have infused their platform with the knowledge necessary to confirm this next generation will help fill labor gaps in the EV industry with highly skilled EVSE workers.
“With our guidance, we can help bridge skill gaps to help bring EV charging infrastructure where it needs to be to keep this whole industry ecosystem moving forward,” Malek affirms. “Our platform ensures that every time you require an expert for EV infrastructure maintenance, you’re guaranteed an appropriately certified professional who is work-ready and primed for the job.”
Malek and her team are confident that their approach will help keep the EV charging infrastructure operational and serve the needs of an ever-expanding EV driver base. “SkillFusion is helping those interested in these opportunities obtain the education and certification they need to unlock a bountiful career trajectory with a digital-first approach,” she explains.
Through maximizing the skills and talents Gen Z brings to the modern automotive industry, Malek and SkillFusion are helping to lead the “charge” in EVSE maintenance and EV charging infrastructure. Their work is paramount in establishing a brighter future not only for the industry ecosystem itself, but also for Gen Z and the generations that follow.
“Gen Z has already made a significant impact in virtually every industry,” Phillips remarks. “The automotive and EV industries are no exception.”