Today, there exists exciting career opportunities for women to enter the growing automotive industry. According to the U.S. Dept. of Labor, the country’s automotive repair and maintenance industry is expected to add 237,500 new jobs and will grow by 30% through 2020.
Yet, women in the automotive industry are significantly underrepresented across all positions in the field. Men hold approximately 75% of all jobs within the industry, and over 95% of all technical positions, including automotive technicians and service advisors.
Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology (BFIT) currently has 12 women enrolled in our automotive department across our certificate, associate, and bachelor's degree programs, which is about 10% of all students in the Automotive Technology department. This number has remained steady for the past few years. Yet, while we have made strides in recruiting women into this program, more work needs to be done to support them in building a network and gaining self-confidence.
According to the U.S. Dept. of Labor, the country's automotive repair and maintenance industry is expected to add 237,500 new jobs and will grow by 30% through 2020.
Last year, with the help of students, BFIT established the Automotive Women’s Group to serve as a forum for women to network, gain job-ready skills, and share experiences in the automotive field. Since that time, the group has hosted meetings and invited women in the automotive industry to speak about their careers. These activities have already resulted in mentorship opportunities and job offers for some students.
In late March, five members of the Automotive Women’s Group traveled to New York City to attend the New York International Automotive Show. While in town, the Women’s Automotive Association International (WAAI) invited our group to attend their breakfast panel which highlighted the importance of women in the automotive industry.
The panel, entitled “Driving Women into the Future of Automotive” featured four women who discussed their experiences in the automotive field and how they’ve progressed in their careers. These industry leaders made it clear that women are in high demand in the automotive field, especially on the technical side of the business, as this background is a valuable asset to employers no matter what position you hold at the company. As the only group of college students in attendance, BFIT students received special recognition for their drive and dedication to the field.
After graduation, they will be prepared to become leaders in this high-demand industry and pave the road for future generations of women automotive professionals.
After the panel, BFIT’s Automotive Women’s Group attended the auto show. They visited booths ranging from Toyota and Volkswagen to Maserati and Bugatti and spoke with many company representatives. The auto show revealed the industry’s future – driverless cars, electric vehicles, and state-of-the-art technology – a future our students are excited to help shape.
As we boarded the bus back to Boston after an eventful two days, our students had a new sense of pride, determination and empowerment that will greatly benefit the BFIT community this semester and beyond. After graduation, they will be prepared to become leaders in this high-demand industry and pave the road for future generations of women automotive professionals!