Recruiting Women Technicians to Meet Workforce Demand
Increasing demand for technicians continues to be a pressing concern for the automotive industry. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows continuing demand for automotive technicians, yet each year the number of technicians completing their training certifications and entering the workforce falls far short of industry needs. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2025, demand for new automotive repair technicians will outpace supply by five to one.
With this shortage, there is an urgent need to increase awareness and build interest in automotive technician careers. Recruiting women for automotive technician careers is a largely untapped pipeline. Statistically, women comprise 52% of the population, yet only account for 2.5% of employed automotive technicians. And, interestingly, women account for 53% of car purchases made each year. Considering all this and the fact that today’s cars are more technical than mechanical, it makes sense for the automotive repair industry to reach out to women interested in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) career.
TechForce Foundation, a nonprofit focused on workforce development in the transportation industry, recently published a white paper, “Women Techs: Solving the Tech Shortage Problem.” TechForce interviewed women technicians to better understand what challenges they face working in the male-dominated transportation industry. They asked respondents to share their insights into some of the industry’s strengths and shortcomings. Many of the women interviewed said they have found the automotive repair industry to be a rewarding profession, but to attract more women technicians, it is vital to understand the unique challenges women face entering into the automotive workforce. While much of the discouragement that women experience comes from outside of the industry, many expressed the need for industry educators and employers to firmly establish a culture where women feel welcome and supported.
Cecelia Arteaga, a program representative for the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR), initially pursued a career in the medical field but then found a welcoming and supportive automotive program at her local community college. After getting a certificate in general automotive repair, Arteaga earned her associate degree in alternative fuels and advanced transportation and recently went on to complete her bachelor’s degree in automotive technology. When asked what advice she has for women interested in entering the automotive field, Arteaga responded, “Let go of the self-doubt and jump in headfirst. You will never know unless you try. Even if there is not much female representation in this male dominant field, be your own inspiration.” As noted by TechForce, women technicians want to be valued and respected first and foremost for their skills. Arteaga remarked, “Changing a culture is not an easy task. It takes time and commitment, but by working together, we can create an inclusive community for all technicians.”
BAR is committed to supporting and informing individuals interested in pursuing a career in the automotive repair industry. Find information on licensure and training requirements and learn about scholarship opportunities under the Licensees tab at www.bar.ca.gov. In addition, BAR offers career opportunities for experienced auto professionals. Visit BAR’s Jobs Opportunities page to learn more.
To learn more about TechForce and download a copy of “Women Techs: Solving the Tech Shortage Problem,” visit www.techforce.org.