Car dealers a key part of B.C.’s workforce
Every year on the third week of October, Canadians celebrate small businesses, their achievements and the invaluable contributions to the communities they serve. Ninety-eight per cent of all businesses in British Columbia are small businesses, in total employing over one million people.
B.C.’s new car dealers are part of the fabric of the more than 55 communities where our 385 members have dealerships. From employment, to economic spinoff, to charitable contributions, our members are active every day of the year in every corner of the province. The majority of those news car dealers are classified as small businesses, meaning that they employ less than 50 people. Combined, those members directly and indirectly employ more than 36,000 people in this province in a wide variety of jobs.
Small businesses and entrepreneurs in Canada face numerous challenges, but none more pressing than the shortage of skilled labour. Today’s auto industry workforce requires a wide variety of skills, and there are huge career opportunities for those looking for jobs in a stable, growing industry. Expansion, combined with a current workforce where 47 per cent of the industry will be retiring within 10 years, means big opportunity for the next generation of employees.
With nearly half of the sector’s workforce anticipated to retire over the next decade, this means that within the next 10 years, there will be substantial increases in the number of opportunities at various small, medium and large dealerships across British Columbia. Approximately 20,000 new job positions will be opening up across the automotive sector, from positions in trades, such as automotive mechanics to positions in finance, marketing, business development and human resources.
But dealers provide more than just new vehicles and job opportunities for British Columbians. Dealers, especially small new car dealers, often have deep roots, with community ties anchoring them to their hometowns.
A recent example of the close connections our members have with their communities came this past summer when wildfires devastated 100 Mile House, Williams Lake and other towns in the Interior. The New Car Dealers Association of B.C. created a fire relief fund to assist dealer employees affected by the evacuations.
In another example, various small dealers and service shops on Vancouver Island contributed over $300,000 to the Camosun Foundation’s TRADEmark for Excellence fundraising campaign for the college’s new Trades Education and Innovation Complex. This generous contribution not only aided students looking to learn, but also ensured that the employees of the future are given the best tools available to prepare them for after graduation.
The BDC Small Business Week began in the Fraser Valley as a week of activities for entrepreneurs almost forty years ago and has spread across the country since then. The event marks an exciting opportunity to learn from other business experts through various conferences, workshops and luncheons.
Small Business Week runs Oct. 15-21 and brings together not only businesses, but also their surrounding communities as well to honour their achievements. Small dealers across the province have given back through various fundraising campaigns and by supporting local initiatives.
Small businesses are invaluable to not only British Columbia’s economic health, but to its social well being as well. Dealerships are important contributors and leaders in their communities, and while many of these dealerships may be small businesses, they have created big and lasting impacts crucial to the fabric of their communities.
Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Car dealers employ thousands of people in a variety of occupations.