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More Must Be Done To Attract Women To Automotive Industry

More Must Be Done To Attract Women To Automotive Industry

September 26, 2019

Several months ago, I prepared a Post Media column on the issue of future workforce demands facing the automotive sector and how we collectively need to expand the diversity in our workforce, especially in attracting more women to our industry.

Desrosiers Automotive Consultants recently released a report that highlights the extent of the challenge as it relates to service technicians. The report produced some rather troubling findings but in doing so, identifies some very real opportunities for change.

It’s no secret that the automotive industry has long been a male-dominated domain. However, the report which references data from Statistics Canada, shows that in 2016, there were approximately 156,000 automotive technicians – and only 2.1 per cent of those were female. The study also revealed the median income for men under this classification was $46,000 compared to $33,000 for women, a concerning income disparity.

It’s important to note that these are national numbers and are reflective of one aspect of the automotive sector – but they are telling, and speak to the need for our industry to address issues such as wage parity, and take some concrete steps to attract more women into the workforce.

The study also showed almost one-third (31.5 per cent) of automotive service technicians are 50-plus years of age, underlining a tide of retirements that will be hitting the industry over the next decade. If you think this isn’t an issue, consider that an increasing requirement in this field is very skilled technicians who can tend to the complex and highly sophisticated maintenance and repairs associated with new vehicles, especially battery electric, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell electric (hydrogen) vehicles.

Overall, it is anticipated the auto-industry in BC will need over 20,000 new hires to fill projected job openings, whether those be in management, sales or are technical in nature – over the next ten years.

The BC New Car Dealers Association is developing a strategy to better attract more young people to the profession, improve education and training opportunities, and ultimately lay the groundwork for industry, dealers, government and training institutions to forge a path forward in a collaborative manner.

This week, our association attended the UBCM Convention to engage elected officials and share information related to career opportunities in the automotive sector. This is in keeping with utilizing every opportunity we have to encourage governments to increase investments in skilled trades and other training at institutions around the province to help ensure those 20,000 job opportunities can be filled in the next decade.

On a national level, the Canadian Auto Dealer Association is promoting industry opportunities through an interactive site: https://carsandjobs.com/ that provides information on job opportunities in communities across the country. The New Car Dealers Association of BC complements these efforts by creating awareness of career pathways that are available to young people along with highlighting education grants available for those wishing to pursue careers in the automotive industry. In fact, BC’s New Car Dealers’ Foundation has provided more than $500,000 in scholarships and grants since 2006!

We hope that a strategy will serve as a positive catalyst for change, creating greater certainty and flexibility for dealerships and the industry, while also forging new, meaningful and equal career opportunities for females who historically have not been part of the equation.

For the latest information on car careers in BC’s automotive industry, visit: https://carsandjobs.com/

Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at bqualey@newcardealers.ca.

Dealer Members with New Car Dealers Association

We represent more than 375 New Car Dealers throughout British Columbia.