Elon Musk announced last week he had hired Linda Yaccarino as the new CEO of Twitter, a move which would he said would allow him to devote more time to Tesla. It appears as though one of his first changes upon his quasi-return to the automaker is a focus on the company’s hiring efforts.
In an email sent to employees on Monday obtained by The Information, Musk said that no one is allowed to hire a new employee, or even a contractor, without him first reviewing and approving the move. Musk explained to his executives in the email that they should “think carefully” about the request before the hiring proposal is sent to him.
The full email was not published in the report, but there was apparently no mention of how long this policy will be in place, or what kind of criteria Musk will look at when deciding whether to approve or reject the proposed hire. However, if the policy is in place for any extended period of time, it will likely bring Tesla’s rate of hiring new employees to a crawl, effectively making it a hiring freeze without calling it as much.
In 2022 the company hired about 29,000 new employees, bringing Tesla’s total headcount to just under 128,000 employees worldwide. There are obviously ebbs and flows throughout the year, but averaging that out over the 12 month period approximately 2,416 new hires were added each month in 2022, or about 80 per day. That rate of hiring would be difficult to sustain if Musk is personally reviewing each and every one given his workload not only for Tesla, but also for his other companies like SpaceX and Twitter, to name just two.
This wouldn’t be the first time Tesla has implemented a hiring freeze, although you would never have guessed it based on the nearly 30% increased headcount in 2022. Last year Musk said the company aimed to cut 10 percent of its staff and would pause hiring globally because he said he had a bad feeling about the direction of the economy.