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March 13, 2007

Is a Career in the Automotive Industry for Me?

Gilbertkathysmall_1 Automotive Career Choices for Women
by Kathy Gilbert of ADP Dealer Services

- I never thought about it -
During my senior year in high school, which was a long time ago, I asked myself many times what I wanted to do for a career.  After looking at the jobs available and considering the ones that would be of interest to me – plus talking to my family, teachers, mentors and friends, I determined that computers was the way to go.  My plan as I entered college was to focus on general business and understand how to use computers.   I looked at several industries, but never really gave much thought to a career in automotive.

- Good things can happen -

Many years later, and several turns along the way, I find myself in an industry that I never really gave a chance.  Having spent almost 13 years servicing the automotive industry, I have found the most rewarding opportunities, along with some unique challenges and much personal growth.   It’s easy to think that a career in automotive is only based on what you see when you go into a car dealership – the salesperson, the cashier, the technician.  But, there is so much more.

When speaking to young women today, I encourage them to consider a career in the automotive industry.  Whether their interests lie in sales, marketing, accounting, finance, product design, advertising, training, engineering, production, dealership owner or technician, you can find many rewards in an industry once not thought of as for women.

Businesswoman_5 - New players as the game changes -
The automotive industry is still predominately male.  Although, the dealerships, car companies and suppliers are doing more to address the changing demographics, it takes a woman to really understand a woman. The industry leaders understand this.  They are beginning to target women for job opportunities traditionally held by men.  The statistic that fascinates me is that women account for 51% of the U.S. population, but represent a significantly smaller percentage of the jobs in the industry.  This alone opens up so many possibilities for women willing to give the automotive industry a chance. 

You can talk to anyone or better yet, you can pick up a newspaper or magazine and hear about the challenges that the automotive industry is facing.  I have heard many say that the game is changing and many will speculate on where the industry is going.  I would tell you now is a good time to consider a career in automotive.  This is a time for change and you never know where this road will take you.

by Kathy Gilbert

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