The shift to electric vehicles will force huge changes in the auto industry and require EU backing for 'reskilling' programs to help workers prepare for a zero-emissions future, according to a report published on Tuesday.
The Platform for Electromobility, an industry group, said a report by the Boston Consulting Group showed that by 2030 European auto industry employment will drop by less than 1 percent from 5.7 million people today amid the transition to electric vehicles.
But jobs at manufacturers and traditional suppliers focused on combustion engines will drop 20 percent and 42 percent respectively -- between them shedding a cumulative 500,000 positions.
At the same time, employment at suppliers focused on zero-emissions technology will rise by 300,000 workers, representing a 10 percent increase, the study said.
The European Commission has proposed an effective ban on new gasoline and diesel cars from 2035.
Automakers have warned that jobs at conventional combustion engine plants will be particularly at risk and have called on the European Union to help mitigate the impact the shift to electric will have on those manufacturing workers.
Platform for Electromobility said the study predicts huge job increases for energy production related to the auto industry, and charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.
The group said the EU, governments and companies should focus on investing in education, training, 'upskilling' and 'reskilling' of workers to "ensure no one is left behind" as the industry makes the transition to electric vehicles.
"The auto industry is so strategic for Europe across the board involving an awful lot of people that reside everywhere, so it's important that the EU work with member states on accompanying policy," Platform for Electromobility chair Arne Richters told Reuters. "Reskilling and making that a strategic priority is a crucial point."