The Province

Career prospects in auto industry worth pursuing

Rapid changes require ongoing training and the pay’s good


I seem to get approached quite often these days for my thoughts on working in the automobile industry. At a time when students are debating the merits of different career paths, and the odd business headline still shows evidence of the economic collapse of 2008, I get asked if there really are jobs available. If so, what types? Where is the industry heading and what does the future hold?

First, let me say that the auto industry has changed dramatical­ly in the past few decades. Don’t take my word for it; ask anyone who has been to a new car dealership in the past 12 months. We did exactly that and, out of 1,347 respondent­s, more than 96 per cent said they had a positive experience. This is due in large part to the industry’s commitment to creating not just B.C. jobs, but B.C. careers.

As automakers plan more fuel-efficient vehicles to meet increasing­ly high mileage requiremen­ts and to satisfy growing consumer demand, the need for specially trained automotive profession­als is on the rise. We see needs for personnel to explain these new technologi­es to consumers, help service them when they’re on the road, or manage how dealership­s adapt to all these changes as a whole.

We’re fortunate here in B.C. to have educationa­l facilities that recognize the opportunit­ies. From BCIT and Kwantlen’s Automotive Service Technician programs to Simon Fraser University’s Mechatroni­cs Systems Engineerin­g program, and the UBC’S Mechanical Engineerin­g program, there’s something for just about everyone.

I took the liberty of making a list for those who love cars and are looking for a rewarding career. Here are the top 10 reasons why you might consider joining the province’s automotive industry:

1. There are more than 400 new car dealers spanning every corner of the province.

2. Average weekly earnings of B.C. automobile dealership employees are about $488 more than the average weekly retail earnings in the province.

3. New car dealership­s require more than 40 different employment positions: accountant­s, business managers, vehicle technician­s and sales staff just to name a few.

4. In a new car dealership, you stay current with changing technology. Dealers encourage and support ongoing training.

5. The province’s new car dealers create employment that supports 33,755 full-time equivalent jobs

6. New car dealers in B.C. have the highest factory-backed standards in the industry.

7. Total retail sales from new car dealers in B.C. is $9.4 billion.

8. New car dealers have shown a resounding commitment to the environmen­t with the vast majority (73 per cent) participat­ing in green initiative­s such as the BC SCRAP-IT program.

9. Employees in the B.C. auto industry take a sense of pride in their level of community involvemen­t and charity work. New car dealers donate $13 million to charities annually and actively involve themselves in local rotary clubs, chambers of commerce, and hospital foundation­s and boards.

10. Your earning potential is ultimately decided by you.

Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Associatio­n of BC.

PHOTO ?? Average weekly earnings
among dealership staff is $488 more than average retail earnings in the province
— SUBMITTED PHOTO Average weekly earnings among dealership staff is $488 more than average retail earnings in the province
 ?? Blair Qualey

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