“What’s a pretty little thing like you doing working on cars?”
Working in an industry assumed to be male-focused and male-dominated, this phrase is often heard by female technicians, from customers to co-workers. And to be honest, this statement isn’t far off. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2018), only 2.1 percent of technicians in the automotive service industry are women.
"..what can we as an industry and a society do to improve not only recruitment of talent to this field, but specifically females?"
With an industry experiencing a massive technician shortage, there’s a huge opportunity for women to consider this as a career path. The problem is, the automotive industry historically has not been as female friendly as other business sectors. Couple that with the stigma around becoming a technician and there’s not the most positive outlook.
So, what can we as an industry and a society do to improve not only recruitment of talent to this field, but specifically females? In an interview with Automotive News in 2018, Jody DeVere, CEO of AskPatty.com, a female-owned website focused on revolutionizing the women’s automotive retail market, discussed exactly what can be done to improve female tech recruitment.
1. Schools need to bring back auto repair classes and explain the career opportunities in this field for both women and men. Why? Because they are interested in that hands-on learning. In fact, many of the schools Jody works with reported that up to 40 percent of the students enrolled in auto repair classes were girls.
2. The same issues that affect men entering the industry curse women too — low starting pay, startup cost of tools, lack of clear career paths for lube techs and common entry-level positions. Also, some of those issues are myths and need to be de-bunked. Much of society doesn’t realize the opportunities, earning potential and almost guaranteed job security enjoyed by most automotive technicians. Learn more about our initiative to #ShiftTheMyth.
3. It’s time to throw all our pre-conceived notions of what auto repair shops and technicians look like out the window. We are well past the days of grease monkeys. Today’s technicians are clean cut, well-spoken and technically trained. So, for those ladies who were turned down for a job as a technician because they were too pretty or weren’t a good culture fit, times have changed. Repair shops should be eager to have you on their front lines.
4. Not only should men advocate for women in the industry, but other women need to as well. There is no need for women to feel like they need to compete for jobs in the automotive field. Instead, they should feel empowered to advocate for each other. After all, empowered women empower women.
We joined forces with TechForce Foundation to take a stand for technicians, both men and women. This group of automotive professionals is inspiring, talented and much needed for today’s transportation-reliant world.
For TechForce’s FutureTech Tuesday, we’re celebrating women – shout out to our FutureTechs Rock female winners, Felyciti Alvarez and Angelle Vanderwarf – it’s your passion and commitment that will inspire other women to follow in your footsteps.