Mercedes vs Tesla: Let the data speak!

Julian Herzog
6 min readJan 19, 2023

Every industry has been forced to adapt to changing consumer demands, with the automobile industry being no exception. Consumers are prioritizing energy efficiency and minimizing the environmental impact, creating the rise of electric vehicles.

What does this mean for longstanding auto manufacturers like Mercedes? We have seen these manufacturers stocking up their resources to maintain competitiveness and relevance to combat new brands like Tesla.

Today, we will analyze one of the most important resources in the automotive industry: the employees. The employees of Mercedes and Tesla have a direct impact on the innovation brought forward.

The employment specifics might shed light on the stagnant revenue of Mercedes, from $179.64 billion in 2020 to $176.46 billion in 2021. In addition, we may be able to draw inferences on the rapid growth of Tesla in recent years, with financial results showing a 70.67% increase in revenue from 2020 to 2021 alone.

The data we will use for comparison is provided by Osterus, a software program that compares thousands of data points to create meaningful statistics.

Let’s first start with the education of employees in each company. Both Mercedes and Tesla have a similar distribution of employees with bachelor’s degrees, with 54.11% and 56.13%, respectively. In addition, 20.43% and 14.32% of employees have master’s degrees in Mercedes and Tesla, respectively.

This information tells us that both companies prioritize education, which makes sense given the complexity of the automobile industry. Mercedes does outweigh Tesla in Doctoral degrees with 2.51% compared to 1.3%.

The top languages spoken by employees show interesting results. The top language in both companies is English, with 29.55% and 35.25% for Mercedes and Tesla, respectively. This is intriguing considering that Mercedes is based in Germany.

The next top spoken language in Mercedes is German, with 26.98%, while Tesla reports Spanish at 11.14%. These differences may indicate that the companies are targeting different consumer bases. In order for Tesla to remain competitive with Mercedes, we would like the percentage for German to increase.

Moving onto the demographics of the employees, we can see that Mercedes has more inclusivity. The male to female distribution in Mercedes is 69.1% to 30.6%, while Tesla reports 74.0% to 21.1%.

Mercedes is an established company with roots tying back to 1926, while Tesla was started in 2003. From the gender distribution, we can see that Mercedes has made more strides toward creating an inclusive work environment. We would like to see Tesla work towards a more even distribution, but this can be difficult given that employee turnover is at an all-time high.

The age distribution sheds light on the hiring strategies of each company. Both Mercedes and Tesla have a majority of their employees in the 25–35 age category, with 47.33% and 56.17%, respectively. This makes sense given the demographic that they are appealing to.

The next highest category is the 35–55 category, with 39.67% and 31.90% for Mercedes and Tesla, respectively. The 18–25 age category only holds around 10% of employees for both companies. This distribution indicates that Mercedes and Tesla are hiring individuals with varying experience levels. This is a great strategy to appeal to multiple different age groups and keep innovation flowing throughout the company.

Despite Mercedes being a more established company, we see stark similarities in the work experience distribution. Both Mercedes and Tesla have retained a majority of their employees for under 3 years, with 69% and 67%, respectively. The 3–5 year category holds 13% and 12% for Mercedes and Tesla, respectively. The 5–10 year category displays similar results.

This tells us that both companies went through an extensive hiring effort in the past few years. However, Mercedes and Tesla aren’t bringing on inexperienced workers with the work experience total distribution showing most employees have 10+ years of experience, with 64% and 57%, respectively.

Next, we see that the 5–10 year category holds 19% and 22% of Mercedes and Tesla employees, respectively. In the next few years, we would like to see the work experience in the current company distribution shift right, indicating that these companies are able to keep qualified talent.

The job title distribution also gives us key insight into the areas that these automobile companies are prioritizing. Both Mercedes and Tesla retain the most employees in the engineering job title, showing 6.55% and 10.55%, respectively. Next, Mercedes focuses on project management while Tesla shifts employees to middle management.

Prioritization of engineering indicates that these companies are trying to find ways to remain competitive and relevant. In addition, management is vital for the long-term success and growth of these companies, especially Tesla.

One difference between Mercedes and Tesla is the percentage of employees in the information technology and product development sectors. Mercedes retains around 5% in each of these categories, while Tesla lingers around 2%. On the contrary, Tesla places more employees in operations and data science compared to Mercedes.

Finally, analyzing the overall loyalty, diversity, and competitiveness of Mercedes and Tesla will help us understand how they are navigating new market demands. Mercedes retains a very high loyalty score, while Tesla ranks low. This is not surprising given that Mercedes is a century old while Tesla is a new company.

The boomerang ratio in the loyalty score is one of the differentiating factors, with Mercedes having 0.95 while Tesla shows 0.14. This ratio measures company culture and how long employees are currently working in the company.

Next, looking at the diversity score, we can see that Tesla outranks Mercedes with a very high score compared to Mercedes’ high score. The diversity score measures the gender, education, language, work experience, age, and location of the employees.

However, in the competitiveness score, Mercedes outranks Tesla with a very high score compared to a medium score. The competitiveness score compares the benchmarks of each company to industry standards.

Both Mercedes and Tesla show similar employment specifics, yet Tesla has been able to significantly increase their revenue. Mercedes has the talent to compete with Tesla. It will be interesting to see the performance results of Mercedes and Tesla in the next year to see how each company is deploying its resources.

The information provided by Osterus is just the start of the information we can derive from looking at the employment specifics of companies. In the near future, we can expect to understand what it truly means to work for these companies by looking at work-life balance and more.

For more information or to schedule a demo, reach out to contact us directly or on LinkedIn.