Wage and Benefits Survey

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About the Survey

Autos Drive America commissioned a first-of-its-kind survey of international automakers’ workplace operations in the United States. Produced by Ernst & Young, the study surveyed 20 production facilities in nine1 states to gather data on employee wages and compensation, benefits, safety standards, and diversity. The results were both illuminating—and inspiring.


The Production Line Worker Compensation Survey2 confirms what Autos Drive America has always known - international automakers offer rewarding careers to their 90,0003 U.S. manufacturing workers. They provide a direct path to the middle class for Americans early in their careers. Moreover, the compensation provided by international automakers is in-line-with or leading overall industry wages, benefits, and safety standards. The bottom line is that international automakers are making more than just cars in the US – they have been driving career opportunities, investing in American workers, and strengthening communities across the country for 60 years.

The survey found that throughout the United States, international automakers:

  • Pay competitive wages that are comparable to, and even exceed, industry counterparts, including Detroit-based automakers and other American electric vehicle manufacturers.
  • Provide career opportunities, comprehensive benefits, job stability, and tenure that are critical to building the middle class in their communities.
  • Hire workforces that are more racially diverse than the states where facilities are located, particularly in African American and multiracial communities.
  • Maintain consistently high safety standards and cover nearly 90% of the cost of a full suite of benefits, such as health, dental, vision, life, and disability insurance.
  • Offer onsite benefits and amenities like medical care, gyms, worker education, and training facilities.

Survey Key Takeaways - International Automakers:

International automakers drive competitive pay and professional advancement opportunities for American auto workers

Wages at international automakers’ facilities align with auto and manufacturing industry averages—and are often higher. Wages far exceed national and state minimums, allowing international automakers’ 90,000 manufacturing employees to support themselves and their families and earn middle-class wages early and throughout their careers.

International automakers offer higher wages for starting positions than industry counterparts—$19.02 compared to between $17.514 and $18.505. Average production worker wages ($24.70) are higher than the industry average, too ($24.53).

Their employees achieve top-out wage rates in an average of six years, allowing them to spend much of their career earning higher wages ($28.01 on average). Industry counterparts also offer relatively fast employee advancement, with an average of 8-9 years to reach top-out wage rates.

86% of international automaker employees are direct hires, with many temporary workers offered full-time employment in less than a year. The wages they earn provide for quality standards of living in the communities where these facilities operate.

Facilities also offered a variety of bonus types, including attendance bonuses ($1,768 on average), profit sharing ($4,136 on average), and performance bonuses ($2,072 on average).

International automakers prioritize the well-being of their employees

Over the last 60 years, international automakers have invested over $100 billion in their U.S. operations. Today, they operate over 500 facilities nationwide, including manufacturing, R&D, education centers, finance centers, and sales offices. This study confirmed that they not only invest in their U.S. production, but also in their workers’ wellbeing, providing comprehensive benefits that encourage health and wellness, financial security, time off, and educational and professional development.

All facilities surveyed provide health, dental, vision, life, and disability insurance, and cover an average of 90% of health care premiums.

95% of facilities provide 401k account matching.

International automakers offer an average of 25 days of paid time off on top of paid holidays and other leave benefits, including fully paid parental leave.

All facilities provide workers with a vehicle lease, purchase, or discount program.

95% of facilities provide annual educational assistance to employees ranging from $4,000 to $7,500.

The international automaker workforce is diverse

International automakers’ production facilities hire a more racially diverse workforce than the states in which they are located. And because they provide good pay and benefits across the country, these facilities offer a secure career path to the middle class, particularly within minority communities. The economic benefits international automakers provide positively impact their manufacturing workers, their communities, and the 2.3 million direct and indirect employment opportunities generated by their U.S. operations.