General Motors Company

The Vault Review


  • General Motors is a household name with well-known brands, such as Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC.
  • The firm recently returned to profitability for the first time since 2004.
  • A recently ratified contract with the UAW was considered favorable to GM, which expects to see labor costs increase by only 1 percent annually.


  • Rising fuel prices, production snags and senior-level management turnover have hurt the company's stock price.
  • GM isn't doing as well as it would like to in Europe and China.
  • Stiff competition from domestic and Japanese auto makers during a period of global economic sluggishness.

The Bottom Line

  • With 202,000 employees on six continents, General Motors is still a giant among companies. However, questions remain over its positioning relative to industry rivals as it seeks regain the confidence of car buyers and investors.

Quality Of Life

Blue-collar employees are less likely to praise work-life balance at GM than white-collar workers, whose work schedules tend to be more flexible and who are much more likely to have an opportunity to work from home on occasion.  

Both blue- and white-collar workers at GM say the high pay they receive comes with an expectation that they will work many hours, crimping the work-life balance. However, the high wages do make it easy to enjoy a good quality of life in Michigan, Ohio and other places where the cost of living is low.

Complaints about management, especially middle and senior management, are common, likely due to the fact that those in managerial positions largely kept their jobs during layoffs. That same dynamic means that promotions can be difficult to come by.



▲ Show Less▼ Show All

Salary & Benefits

About a quarter of GM's workers-48,500 employees-are covered by the company's recently ratified four-year contract with the United Auto Workers, and industry watchers say the company got the better of UAW. Workers received a $5,000 signing bonus - less than Ford workers but more than Chrysler's - plus annual $1,000 bonuses starting in 2013 and a better profit sharing deal.

The union also preserved health care and pensions for workers and boasted that the company agreed to "add or save" 6,000 factory jobs. The deal is considered good for GM because it retains a two-tier wage system that allows it to start new hires at $16 to $19 an hour - $2 to $3 an hour above the current starting wage but far below the $32 an hour for UAW veterans. GM is offering "premium-paid" skilled workers buyouts of as much as $75,000 and $10,000 to other workers.

Most white-collar workers and others not covered by the UAW contract say they are paid fairly or well in relation to industry standards.

Benefits include healthcare with low co-pays, money for relocation, life and disability insurance, pensions, educational benefits and others.

The company gives discounts on GM vehicles to employees and their immediate family members. The size of the discount depends on where the employee lives. 

▲ Show Less▼ Show All


Unlike Ford and Chrysler, GM didn't make DiversityInc.'s list of the nation's most diverse companies. But GM was one of 338 major American businesses that earned top marks in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's 2011 Corporate Equality Index - the fifth straight year GM has achieved a perfect score. The annual survey measures a company's treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees and consumers.  

Regarding corporate social responsibility, General Motors supports engineering education at colleges and has created classroom-ready lesson plans to help inspire students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

General Motors Foundation, a long-time sponsor throughout the Detroit metropolitan area, resumed giving to the arts in Detroit in 2011. The foundation gave $2.5 million to the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. It also donated $10.1 million for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C.  

The company and foundation donate to victims of natural disasters, including $1 million to Haitian earthquake efforts in 2010, $100,000 to help with the Australian wildfires in 2009, and $2.5 million for China earthquake relief in 2008.

Since 1996, General Motors has been the exclusive source of funding for Safe Kids USA's "Safe Kids Buckle Up" program, a national initiative to ensure child automobile safety through education and inspection. 

GM is also trying to become more green by helping to support 16 projects across America as part of a commitment to spend $40 million on carbon reduction. 

▲ Show Less▼ Show All