Last March, the B.C. Automotive Sector Alliance (BCASA) announced the completion of a strategy created to address the coming labour shortage in the province’s automotive industry within the next decade.
The reality is that the average age of mechanics and automobile service technicians today is over 50. In fact, it is estimated that over 47 per cent of the automotive industry will be retiring by the end of the decade.
Over the next ten years, the industry will need at least 20,000 new hires to fill the job openings as baby boomers start leaving the workforce.
Not all of these 20,000 new job openings will be positions such as mechanics and service technicians. There are jobs across the entire sector, including positions in human resources, office administration, marketing, sales and finance.
The auto sector today is a sophisticated, high-tech industry that is constantly evolving as auto technology changes and advances. The industry also offers exciting and well-paying jobs in virtually all parts of the province. This is a sector that is flourishing in B.C.
The New Car Dealers Association of BC (NCDA), and its member dealers, already employ more than 36,000 British Columbians in 55 communities throughout the province and represent more than 370 new car and truck dealers.
For the past couple of years, those of us in the auto industry have been coming up with new solutions to reach young, job-seeking British Columbians and to raise awareness about the careers offered in the industry.
In 2016 for example, BCASA has been very active in a number of educational and career fairs across the province. We engaged a significant number of young people during fairs in Abbotsford, Nanaimo and Vancouver and the number of interested people who stopped by our booth was certainly encouraging.
BCASA was also present at the Skills Canada BC Provincial Competition, the Lordco Tradshow, the Lord Byng Career Fair and the Delta Trade + Technical Career Fair, reaching approximately 1,000 students and job seekers.
At this year’s 97th Annual Vancouver International Auto Show – the biggest showcase of what B.C.’s automotive sector has to offer – approximately 115,000 people were reached while they toured the Auto Show.
In addition to the tradeshows, presentations were also given to Grade 10 students in order to inform them of possible career paths in the automotive industry. During the 2016 Fall semester, approximately 2,200 high school students learned about jobs in B.C.’s auto industry through the career planning class in their schools’ curriculum.
To go along with all this outreach activity, a new centralized online job board was also created to connect employers with new potential employees. Since last year, over 350 new jobs have been posted online and job seekers can even tailor their search to filter by location and position. That’s one of the perks of having a job in the auto industry – you can truly work in any location across the province of B.C., from Nanaimo to Dawson Creek and everywhere in between.
The online job board is also a great resource for those curious about what the current opportunities are. Job descriptions, as well as possible education pathways and requirements, are also listed on the site to give site visitors an idea of what the auto sector looks like today.
For more information about a career in the auto industry and to access the job board, visit http://www.bcautocareers.ca.
Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at [email protected].