General Motors Adding 3,000 High-Tech Jobs in its Push Towards Electrification & Vehicle Connectivity

General Motors Adding 3,000 High-Tech Jobs in its Push Towards Electrification & Vehicle Connectivity

Author: Eric Walz   

Electric vehicle maker Tesla considers itself a software and tech company at heart and the repository for its work just happens to be electric vehicles. This model has worked over the past decade as Tesla has risen to become the world's most valuable automaker and pioneered new vehicle technology for the auto industry, including building fully-electric cars with advanced powertrains that support over-the-air updates and are capable of automated driving.

Now following Tesla's lead is U.S. automaker General Motors, a company whose 100-year-old roots are in traditional vehicle manufacturing, not software, computer vision, AI or machine learning. But as GM plans for an electric future that includes self-driving cars and software-as-a-service (SaaS), the company is looking to add thousands of high-tech roles it will need to execute its vision.

GM announced on Monday its hiring 3,000 employees through the first quarter of 2021 for high-tech roles in fields such as software engineering, IT and design. The move will also increase diversity and inclusion and contribute to GM's electrification strategy to help transform product development and other connected vehicle technology, the company said.

GM will offer more remote opportunities than ever before as development of autonomous and electric vehicles and advanced platforms like its new Ultium battery system continue at a rapid pace. 

Recent virtual development innovations made by the company's engineering team have allowed the company to speed up the product timelines of upcoming EVs while keeping costs low, the company said.

"As we evolve and grow our software expertise and services, it's important that we continue to recruit and add diverse talent," said GM President Mark Reuss. "This will clearly show that we're committed to further developing the software we need to lead in EVs, enhance the customer experience and become a software expertise-driven workforce."

Among the many new roles will be electrical system engineers, infotainment software engineers, controls engineers for autonomous driving, as well as Java, Android, and iOS platform developers for vehicle infotainment systems. These roles will help the automaker build a robust and connected software foundation for its future vehicles, many of which will be fully-electric.

GM said that software expertise is core to its "Vehicle Intelligence Platform", which brings more electrical bandwidth and the capability to support new active safety systems, infotainment, connectivity, the automaker's Super Cruise automated driving system, as well as over-the-air vehicle software updates, which is one of the main technologies that differentiate Tesla from its rivals. 

Beyond the vehicle, GM will continue to invest in software applications like its "OnStar Guardian", which allows OnStar members to access safety services from a compatible phone, whether they're at home, out walking, or traveling in a vehicle, regardless of brand, age or ownership.

GM's initiatives will help to address a shortage of high-tech talent for automakers as they modernize the model lineups, including GM's chief rival Ford Motor Company.

The slow moving auto industry has had difficulty attracting new talent over the past twenty years, as college grads from top schools flock to places like Silicon Valley for roles at prestigious companies like Google, Apple, Tesla, rather than settling in Detroit and the surrounding communities, which have been the traditional heart of the U.S. auto industry for decades.

A study conducted each year by Universum lists the ten best places that college graduates want to work. This year, Universum's data showed that two of Elon Musk's companies—Tesla and SpaceX— are the top two most attractive for college grads. Other companies on the list include Google, Apple and Amazon, but missing from the list are U.S. automakers GM and Ford.

Universum works with over 2,000 universities, alumni groups, and professional organizations across 50 markets on an annual basis to gather insights from students and professionals in order to advise employers on how to attract talent that fits their culture and needs.

In order to remain competitive with Tesla and other rivals as the auto industry goes through unprecedented changes with electrification, self-driving vehicles and connected vehicle technology, GM must attract some of the best talent in the industry. The company must also hold onto that talent by making GM an attractive place to work, like Tesla is to so many.

GM has already made some changes. The automaker recently announced the launch of a 12-week paid family leave program to assist with challenges surrounding family care. The company says its committed to making sure all employees feel supported in their health and financial needs in order to help GM its Zero vision for the future, which includes zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion. 

GM's plans to introduce 12 new fully-electric models by 2023. 

Achieving this goal will require a workforce of highly skilled, high-tech engineering teams throughout the company to help GM gain ground on segment leader Tesla, a company that released the electric Model S sedan just 8 years ago and has grown to become the world's most valuable automaker. 

GM encourages those interested in the new opportunities to visit the company's careers site and apply.

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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