CEO Column

Jennifer Safavian | International Automakers—The Driving Force Behind the U.S. Auto Industry

Jennifer Safavian
September 29, 2022

International automakers continue to expand operations in the U.S., bolstering our auto industry and investing in communities and workforces nationwide. These investments are also leading to significant economic benefits and activity, including rewarding career opportunities, competitive benefits, and community revitalization.

Earlier this year, we commissioned a first-of-its-kind survey of international automakers’ workplace operations in the United States. Produced by Ernst & Young LLC, the study surveyed 20 auto production facilities across nine states to gather critical data on employee wages, compensation, benefits, working conditions, and diversity. The results were illuminating and inspiring. This data showcases what Autos Drive America has always known—that international automakers are driving the industry forward, elevating workforce standards, and providing a direct path to the middle class for employees.

The Production Line Worker Compensation Survey found that international automakers offer competitive wages and professional advancement opportunities for American autoworkers. Pay and earnings among our members are comparable—and even exceed—auto and manufacturing industry averages. But most importantly, international automakers’ 90,000 manufacturing careers allow employees to support themselves and their families and earn middle-class wages early and throughout their careers.

The survey also found that international automakers don’t just offer good pay. They also provide robust benefits that encourage health and wellness, financial security, time off, and educational and professional development. Every single surveyed facility provides health, dental, vision, life, and disability insurance, with almost all providing 401k account matching. Other benefits include 25 days of paid time off on top of paid holidays, fully paid parental leave, educational assistance, and more.

Beyond competitive compensation packages, international automakers also offer essential protections that safeguard income stability, personal safety, and professional growth. Our facilities report very few workplace injuries, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, our members reported zero workforce reductions. This means that in good times and in tough times, our members put their employees first. That’s something to be proud of.

Finally, we found that jobs with international automakers are for all Americans. Our production facilities hire a more racially diverse workforce than the states in which they are located. International automakers are not only committed to strengthening the communities in which they operate but also to assembling a workforce that reflects the community itself. The good-paying jobs our members offer provide a straightforward path for the middle class, particularly within minority communities.

We didn’t commission this study to be promotional—we wanted to survey the facilities of international automakers in the United States to increase transparency in the industry, and to gain insight into our workforce. But the data we found reaffirms that at the same time our members manufacture and assemble cars in the United States, they also create rewarding, good-paying jobs for Americans across the country. International auto manufacturers have been driving career opportunities, investing in American workers, and strengthening communities across the country for 60 years, and by prioritizing their workforce, they will continue to do so for years to come.

Read the 2022 Wage and Benefits Survey to learn more.