The TechForce Foundation offers advice to increase the number of female technicians

With women representing just 2.5% of employed automotive technicians, recruiting female candidates for careers in the industry is an “obvious” solution to solving the current shortage of technicians, says the TechForce Foundation in a new white paper.

With this in mind, TechForce sought input from women employed in the industry on how employers can attract, retrain and develop more female technicians. Feedback from the 31 participants is summarized in the foundation’s recently released white paper, “Women Techs: Solving the Tech Shortage Problem.”

Women who have participated in the Women Tech Rocks initiative have reported overcoming discouragement and barriers at virtually every stage of their careers, from societal discouragement of working in a male-dominated field to prejudice from clients, colleagues and management.

TechForce took their feedback and distilled it into concrete “steps” employers can take to help attract more women to the industry. These are listed at the end of this article.

“Tech women are fierce renegades who refuse to be suffocated by societal expectations; they overcome challenges with resilience and reject any attempt to limit them,” the report states. “Female techs love being techs – and they hope more women will join their ranks, but for that to happen, employers in the transportation industry need to establish a culture where women feel welcomed and supported – where they can imagine enjoying a long career.

The 31 women who contributed their views to the report range in age from 19 to 61 and live in various parts of the United States, as well as Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. The vast majority are automotive technicians, while one is a refinish technician.

For a full copy of the report, visit https://techforce.org/women-tech-white-paper/

Recruitment Challenges

Ninety-three percent of female technicians were discouraged from pursuing the field when they were children and teenagers, according to the report. “Technicians are often portrayed as dirty and greasy, creating an image that few parents encourage their children to embrace, especially parents of young women who often have additional reservations about the challenges their daughters are likely to face when they work in a predominantly male environment. field.”

This discouragement is a “major deterrent,” the report says. Those who expressed an interest in becoming technicians in their youth did not arrive at their chosen career until later in life, “usually because they were discouraged when they were younger,” the report says. He found that “internalized societal pressures … led them to assume that ‘this just wasn’t something a girl was supposed to consider a career’.”

Those who went to vocational training programs were further discouraged. “Every woman who has discussed attending a vocational, secondary or post-secondary program has experienced discrimination while in school,” the report says. “The vast majority said the students themselves were the biggest challenge, as a male-dominated cohort of students did not provide an easy road.”

Companies can play a role in reversing this scenario by recruiting a more diverse workforce through their engagement with schools and through the marketing messages they deliver to the public, TechForce said.

Hiring existing female technicians can help build support for more female workers, the report says. “At least 39% of female techs engage in efforts to support other women with similar interests and promote the tech role as a viable career path.”

Study participants told TechForce that playing on the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) aspects of a tech’s job will make it more appealing to women, who she says are “ready to take on this.” challenge”.

Fairness at work

At least 84% of female technicians said they had encountered prejudice at work from customers, colleagues or management. However, as a “minority in a male-dominated industry,” they are likely to keep quiet about it. “They typically take a ‘just ignore’ position when faced with workplace conflict and are reluctant to assume the abuse is linked to gender bias; However, when they experience prejudice, they are often reluctant to voice their concerns because they feel their complaints fall on deaf ears or they choose to remain silent for fear of reprisal.

Employers can create a better work environment by engaging in open and informal dialogue, as well as diversity and sensitivity training, involving women in discussions, listening to women’s ideas and developing a diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) strategy. “Policies prohibiting bias are only effective when enforced by the highest levels of management/ownership, and everyone is held accountable,” the report said.

Women must also be included in the physical workplace, by having well-fitting uniforms and dedicated changing rooms and toilets. “Being a minority in any industry can feel isolated, and many female technicians have shared this experience,” the report says. “The community plays a vital role in creating a diverse workforce and developing a positive work culture by providing female technicians with a support system to fall back on. Unfortunately, the general lack of female techs creates a perceived absence of community, which often leads female techs to feel isolated and less comfortable standing up for themselves.

Companies that hire and retain female techs “achieve more than just filling a position – they create an ideal situation for attracting employees in the future because female techs who are satisfied with their jobs are inclined to promote that employer and the industry as a whole. And with this kind of passion fueling the search for more technicians, the tech shortage will become a thing of the past in no time,” the report states.

Growth opportunities

Female technicians are often unfairly perceived as having fewer skills and less experience than their male counterparts, according to the report. “Although they are willing to prove themselves by doing their jobs well, many indicated that they must demonstrate their abilities to a much higher level than their male peers to be considered equally competent.”

All female techs told TechForce that the opportunity to continue their training, expand their skills, and have equal opportunity for advancement is important to them. Yet the majority “said they believed their aspirations were inhibited or completely prevented because of their gender.”

Sixty-three percent of women who were denied growth opportunities changed employers or industries in pursuit of their goals.

“Several trained technicians shared their experiences of being typecast in the role of lubrication technician for years, while simultaneously watching less experienced male colleagues receive training, promotions and raises,” the report said.

He recommended that employers identify and define career paths for female technicians. “While it is important for all employees, it plays an even more essential role in women’s careers since many women choose to become mothers and pregnancy is not always conducive to work in the workshop; However, it is important to note that while female technicians recognize the difficulties of juggling work and personal life as a parent and technician, few of them want to move permanently into an office.

The report offers employers the following “actions to take”:

Attract women in tech

  • Pay attention to marketing messages to avoid perpetuating a negative image of the transport industry
  • Create marketing materials that represent the diversity of your current workforce to increase the diversity of your future workforce
  • Actively recruit technicians
  • Attend career fairs and career days at local schools and encourage female technicians to participate as well
  • Increase the visibility of existing women in tech in recruiting materials
  • The Technician role is a STEM subject. Promote as such

Retain women in tech

  • Assess your organization’s work culture, identify opportunities for improvement, and develop a comprehensive DE&I strategy that includes female technicians
  • Develop DE&I policies and provide training on these policies
  • Hold everyone accountable for adhering to the organization’s DE&I policies; the actions of leaders determine the success of these policies
  • Establish a method by which female technicians can feel safe reporting bias in the workplace. Listen to female technicians by involving them in the conversation during business planning sessions
  • Provide female technicians with equal pay and benefits to their male counterparts with equitable skills and experience
  • Give employees the chance to demonstrate their abilities, then trust them to do their job
  • Acclimate women to work by providing women’s washrooms, changing rooms and uniforms as well as investing in tools that make jobs less inhibiting
  • Encourage female technicians to seek out career-focused communities that can provide additional support in their careers

Develop women’s technologies

  • Provide training and education opportunities at the same rate as they are offered to men
  • Establish apprenticeship/mentorship opportunities to help female technicians develop their skills
  • Upgrade equally qualified female technicians at the same rate as male technicians through professional development opportunities
  • Develop a career path that includes positions for female technicians while they are pregnant and when they return to work after having children
  • Highlight women in tech in your organization by submitting them to Women Techs Rock at bit.ly/WomenTechs

“We invite you to work with TechForce to raise the bar for awareness of this profession, increase the number of young people entering technical education for technician careers, and advance a new generation of technicians,” Dana Rapoport, consultant in Chief, Diversity and Inclusion, for the TechForce Foundation, wrote in the report’s conclusion. “Let’s work together to solve the technology shortage.”

More information

TechForce: Women Tech: Solving the Tech Scarcity Problem

Panelists give stores advice on finding and retaining technicians

Pictures

Images provided by the TechForce Foundation

Share this:

Comments are closed.