Opportunities in the Automotive Industry
Open Up to Women
so long ago, a woman's place in the automotive industry was behind
a desk, typing letters, answering phones, and serving coffee. The
mere thought of a woman being all that she could be was not even a
were the days when you could still open the hood of a car and see
the ground through the then-not-so-complicated engine. But times have
changed, so have engines, so have women.
so has the auto industry, one of the largest industries in the world.
Today, peek inside any major automaker window and you'll find not
only women executives but women designers, engineers, and technicians.
No longer the token female, many women are gravitating toward careers
in the auto industry, and guess what? The industry wants you!
month's cover story is one that defies and dispels all the theories,
myths, and stereotypes of what and
who women candidates are for this exciting and dynamic industry. Maureen
Kempston Darkes is a perfect example of one of those outstanding success
stories that puts to death the notion that many people have about
the "glass ceiling," "no opportunities for women,"
or one of my personal favorites, "a woman's place."
Darkes started out as a receptionist at a Ford dealership while attending
the University of Toronto. She went on to join GM's legal staff in
1975. Twenty years later, she has earned her way to CEO, breaking
down barriers and opening new windows of opportunity for every woman.
in this issue are comments on Bobbi Gaunt, the newly appointed CEO
and president of Ford Motor Company in Canada. She, too, has spent
years climbing the corporate ladder of success, proving her capable
worth through silent power and never giving in to the nevers, can'ts
and not alloweds. Gaunt's success story will be detailed in an upcoming
issue. Stay tuned.
unleashed its fifth generation on the public this year with an all-new
shape and style. It is by far the most ergonomically friendly Corvette
ever made. Why? In part because its new looks, thoughtful design,
and user-friendly details were the result of including 10 women designers
and engineers on the team, giving the American icon a much-needed
point being that automakers, the once infamous macho-male-dominated
ole-boys-club industry, have seen the light and not through the spaces
of an uncomplicated engine. Industry echelon have come to recognize
the importance and value of having a balanced perspective on the design
of today's new vehicles and how they are marketed to consumers. And,
since women comprise more than 50 percent of those consumers, automakers
now comprehend the significance of reaching them. $80 billion* worth
only way to reach that audience is to level the playing field by adding
women, as well as minorities, to the fields of design, engineering,
technology, marketing, sales, and yes, mechanics. Automakers are doing
it and, in fact, have stepped-up the action.
case you haven't heard, there's a crisis-level shortage of technicians
in the auto industry. About 60,000 worth. By the year 2005, the Bureau
of Labor Statistics estimates that about 168,000 automotive repair
jobs alone will be created for some talented people. Why? Because
cars now use computers and complex diagnostic systems to make them
run longer, more efficiently, and environmentally cleaner. The more
complicated they get, the more skills they'll require to design, evaluate,
grease monkey named Tony, who fixed everybody's car with a wrench
and a rag in the neighborhood gas station while his drop-out buddies
hung around drinking beer from brown paper bags, pitching pennies
and smoking cigarettes, is history. Brains are in. Brawn is out.
when you walk into a dealership for service, your mechanic may very
well appear in a white lab coat with a nametag that reads Diana Justen,
a degreed technician specialist who hooks up a menagerie of plugs
and wires to your complex engine and diagnoses it through a computer
as if it were a human.
in the auto industry are not only abundant, they also pay well, with
starting salaries from $30,000 to $100,000 a year, depending on your
education, training, experience, and skill level. So to students and
parents we say, rethink your dreams and be sure to guide your talents
into what you really want to be, not what you think you should be.