GM is going on a hiring spree to fuel its pivot to electric cars. A top exec reveals what it's looking for as it adds 3,000 software engineers, designers, and more

  • GM is hiring 3,000 new employees, as it ramps up a transition to electric and autonomous vehicles.
  • The carmaker recently announced that it would spend $27 billion on its electrification efforts and launch 30 new EVs by 2025.
  • Most of the new jobs are in engineering, with a focus on software, but GM is also looking for designers and IT staffers.
  • The company is seeking new college graduates and experienced professionals alike — and won't require previous work in the auto industry.
  • "We're moving faster," GM vice-president Ken Morris said. "We have more balls in the air than we would have in the past."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

General Motors is accelerating its shift toward electric vehicles and high-tech cars and trucks, and it needs more brainpower to make it happen. 

CEO Mary Barra recently said that the automaker would increase its investment in EVs to $27 billion from $20, and bring 30 electrified vehicles to market by 2025 — versus an originally planned 22 by 2023. Half of the 112-year-old company's yearly research-and-development budget, some $7 billion, is now devoted to EVs and autonomous vehicles

The company is going on something of a hiring spree to acquire the talent it needs to transition to a future of electric, autonomous, and connected cars. In November, GM said it would add 3,000 positions "across engineering, design and [information technology] to help transform the future of product development and software as a service."

"We're looking to hire new employees fresh out of school, as well as people who have experience — and it doesn't need to be in the auto industry," Ken Morris, vice-president of autonomous and electric vehicle programs, told Business Insider.

"We're moving faster," he added. "We have more balls in the air than we would have in the past."

Competitive salaries, no move to Michigan necessary

The majority of the new positions should be in engineering, a field that has always been heavily represented in the car business. But Morris said some jobs would involve everything from mobile apps to interfacing with customers, as GM moves away from more than a century of reliance on the internal-combustion engine.

For the skillsets that GM is pursuing, Morris said that compensation levels would be a key differentiator, although he declined to provide specifics.

"It's enormously competitive for top talent," he said. "But our recruiting teams benchmark very well."

He noted that his professional networks have lit up with interest since GM made its announcement at the beginning of November — "It's definitely stirred up a lot of activity on my LinkedIn account," he said — but job seekers don't have to pester the vice-president. They can search for the positions at GM's careers site.

Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, GM's hiring process could now be almost entirely online. And many of the positions, given the nature of the "knowledge economy" skills required, aren't going to demand a move to Michigan.

"I expect a lot of this would happen remotely," Morris said. "That enables people to not have to move to Detroit to work for GM. It's great because it allows us to find the best talent. They're not held back by geographical concerns."

Diversity is critical

The company has also made diversity a key goal.

"General Motors believes that achieving an all-electric future can only become a reality by embracing and investing in diverse perspectives and talent," the company said in a statement announcing the hiring surge.

According to Morris, those aren't just well-chosen words at a time when diversity has become a topic that getting serious, overdue attention in the corporate world.

"Mary [and her team] lead by example," he said. (Prior to becoming CEO in 2014, Barra was responsible for GM's human resources operations.)

Software is everywhere in GM's EV plans

Computer technology represents a significant new frontier for GM, so that's going to be a focal point for new jobs, Morris said.

"Everyone thinks of EVs as batteries and motors, which is true," he said. "But the vehicles also have software everywhere, more so than in the past. Almost any function in the vehicle has software behind it."

That could create new business opportunities for GM. "The thing about the software approach is that it's not only about what's in the car but about how the car connects with customers."

For Morris, the hiring push gives GM the chance to "control its own destiny" by bringing as much capability as possible in-house. "We're transforming into a zero-emissions company," he said. "And we're putting capital and engineering investment in to do that."

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