Pension Management at General Motors Case Study Solution


General Motors (GM) is a global automobile manufacturing company based in the United States. The company has a long history of providing pension benefits to its employees, but with the increasing costs of these benefits, GM is faced with a challenge of managing its pension obligations. This case study focuses on the pension management issues faced by GM and analyzes the possible solutions to the problem.

Case Issue:

The main issue in the case is how GM can manage its pension obligations in the face of increasing costs. The company has a large number of employees who are eligible for pension benefits, and as the workforce ages, the costs of these benefits continue to rise. At the same time, GM is facing financial difficulties, and the company needs to reduce its expenses to remain competitive in the market. The challenge for GM is to find a way to manage its pension obligations while maintaining its competitiveness.

Case Analysis:

The first step in managing the pension obligations is to understand the nature of the problem. GM has a defined benefit pension plan, which means that the company is responsible for providing a specific retirement benefit to each employee based on their years of service and salary. This type of plan is expensive to manage because the company must make sure that it has enough funds to pay the benefits when they come due. However, GM has been facing a shortfall in its pension fund, which means that it does not have enough assets to pay for the benefits it has promised to its employees.

One solution to this problem is for GM to switch to a defined contribution pension plan. This type of plan is less expensive to manage because the company only needs to contribute a fixed amount to each employee’s retirement account, and the employee is responsible for managing the funds. However, this type of plan does not provide the same level of security to the employee, and it may not be as attractive to potential employees.

Another solution is for GM to negotiate with its employees and labor unions to reduce the pension benefits. This could include reducing the amount of the benefit, increasing the age at which the employee can retire, or reducing the cost-of-living adjustments. However, this solution could be met with resistance from the employees and unions, and it may damage the relationship between GM and its workforce.

A third solution is for GM to improve its investment returns on its pension fund. This could be achieved by hiring professional investment managers, diversifying the investments, or increasing the risk level of the investments. However, this solution is not guaranteed to succeed, and there is a risk that the investment strategy could backfire and lead to even larger losses.


The case presents a complex issue of pension management at General Motors. The company faces increasing costs of pension benefits, which it must manage in the face of financial difficulties. GM has several options to address the problem, including switching to a defined contribution pension plan, negotiating with employees and unions to reduce benefits, or improving its investment returns. Each solution has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the best option for GM will depend on several factors, including the financial health of the company, the willingness of employees to accept changes to their pension benefits, and the overall market conditions.

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In order to manage its pension obligations effectively, GM should consider a combination of the solutions presented in the case. This could include negotiating with employees and unions to reduce benefits, while also improving its investment returns on the pension fund. The company should also consider the long-term implications of its pension obligations and work towards reducing the size of the plan in the future. Finally, GM should communicate its plans for pension management clearly to its employees and unions to ensure that they understand the challenges faced by the company and are willing to work together to find a solution.

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