While major strides have been made, and gender lines have been broken, women are still vastly underrepresented when it comes to working in the fleet industry.
The fleet industry has an unjust stigma as being associated as work geared towards men. Even though there has been a rising number of women entering the world of fleet management from an administrative side, female managers who began working in the shop is a rarity.
The longstanding connotation has been that working in an auto shop is not a place for women. And only an estimated 1 percent of automotive technicians in the United States are women, according to the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.
It’s extends beyond simply the shop floor. Among public sector fleet managers, where many work their way up from the technician level, the number of women is staggeringly low. Roughly, only 7 percent of public sector fleet professionals in a management position are women, according to a Government Fleet 2012 Salary Survey.
While women haven’t been excluded from the field, they also haven’t necessarily been recruited. There were challenges, and likely will continue to be, in being the rare woman on the shop floor or on the managerial side. But if fleet managers are concerned with finding and developing qualified technicians, over 50 percent of the population is an untapped source for potential new hires.
The challenge has been finding women who show interest in automotive technology but are just not aware of the fleet community. That’s why it’s important to identify and recruit this group to let them know that positions on the shop floor or in fleet management offer them a home in the industry.
Outside of those who may already have an interest, another major problem is that women haven’t been taught enough about the fleet world to even consider becoming involved in the industry. Increasing awareness of the career options in the field at job fairs, high schools and colleges would go a long way in generating interest. With a larger need on computer-based maintenance, fleet companies must find people who have the technological knowledge to keep up with the evolving field.
However, filling technician positions doesn’t have to be focus when it comes to recruiting. The hands-on position isn’t the only fleet career option for those interested in automobiles. There are positions in shop management, parts inventory, administrative support and plenty of other available jobs. People who have an interest in the finance or business administration profession are also needed to fill positions in the growing fleet industry.
At the end of the day, working in the fleet industry is much like any other position. Establishing your career or running a successful business just requires a passion for what you do.