Various career opportunities available for women in the automotive industry
One area that has also evolved is the representation of women in the industry. Although I don’t have exact numbers, there are more women than ever in dealerships and auto-related businesses.
Where women previously held mostly clerical, finance or administrative positions, today they occupy the positions of senior dealers, general managers, controllers, accountants, sales consultants, sales managers , human resources managers, service managers, parts consultants, automotive technicians and marketing specialists.
At the corporate level, women hold many leadership positions in automotive manufacturing, including Bev Goodman, President and CEO of Ford Canada; Erin Buchanan, general manager of manufacturing at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada; Susan Kenny, engine plant manager at Honda Canada Manufacturing; Linda Hasenfratz, CEO of Linamar Corporation; and Jeanette Wiltshire, Director of Retail Marketing and Programs at Hyundai Auto Canada, to name a few.
The Trillium Automobile Dealers Association (TADA) is a strong advocate for creating more inclusive workplaces. At the 2020 Canadian International Auto Show, TADA hosted Women Driven, a networking event aimed at increasing women’s awareness of the various careers available in the automotive retail, manufacturing and aftermarket segments. ‘industry.
Attendees included media, new car dealers and dealer groups, automakers, aftermarket suppliers and post-secondary schools that offer automotive education.
Women Driven is the brainchild of Susan Gubasta (TADA’s first female president in 2018 and 2019, and President and CEO of Mississauga Toyota), along with four other women who have made careers in the automotive industry. The sold-out event drew over 350 people.
A second Women Driven event will take place on Tuesday, April 12. It will be a virtual event, with an impressive list of guest speakers, an industry panel, networking opportunities, sponsors and prizes.
In addition to raising awareness of career opportunities for women in the automotive industry, TADA plans to make Women Driven an annual event, and automotive companies are encouraged to hold their own Women Driven events to empower, educate and encourage a place of more diverse work.
In 2018, TADA launched a Women in Automotive Mentorship Program, designed to connect post-secondary students with automotive industry leaders who offer support and guidance while encouraging young women to consider a career in automotive retail.
Hiring practices at dealerships have evolved significantly since I joined the company in the late 1980s. Dealerships have changed their hiring practices and fostered welcoming and supportive work environments for women and people with traditional under-represented.
Dealerships are now hiring candidates based on their skills and talents and are actively looking for a broader set of skills, including communication skills, community involvement, networking abilities and customer experience. Many candidates are uniquely qualified with these skills.
As more and more women pursue careers in the automotive industry, the industry still has work to do to achieve gender equity and promote women to leadership positions.
Government legislation, better education and training, and changing public attitudes toward more equality in the workplace are helping to move the needle toward greater gender equity in hiring and promotion.
What will it take to further increase the number of women working in dealerships?
Industry leaders must continue to create and sustain a gender-diverse workplace. Hiring more women in leadership positions will go a long way to changing biases, which will filter throughout the organization.
Employers can create informal and formal networking groups, which are a powerful tool for providing support and guidance to female workers and career advancement.
I believe that greater diversity within the automotive industry will lead to more productive workplaces and a stronger industry as a whole.
To see current jobs available at dealerships and automotive education programs at post-secondary schools, visit carsandjobs.com.
Michael Eatson is president of the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association and president of Peterborough Volkswagen. This column represents the views and values of the TADA. Write to [email protected] or go to tada.ca. For more information on automotive trends and careers, visit carsandjobs.com.