Ottawa, ON – June 23, 2016 - The Automotive Industries Association (AIA) of Canada is pleased to announce the release of the highly anticipated Advancing Women in Automotive Knowledge Exchange Needs Assessment Report. The assessment report, officially released at the 2016 Women’s Leadership Conference on June 16, 2016, is based on the results of nation-wide focus groups of women employed in the automotive aftermarket industry and supplemented by an online survey of human resources insiders.
The Conference Board of Canada predicts that one million skilled workers will be needed by 2020. Although many jobs will go unfilled due to the lack of skilled workers, women remain significantly underrepresented in multiple sectors, including the automotive aftermarket.
The needs assessment report makes four (4) key recommendations for employers, the industry and government. The recommendations include developing more inclusive workplace cultures; implementing pro-active support measure for women employees; investing in measures to enhance public awareness of employment opportunities for women; and, continued support for training and incentive programs as well as communications programs to raise awareness and interest in the industry among women.
Some Key Findings
- Women’s perception of their acceptance within the industry. Even with some with over 20 years of experience in the industry, focus group participants acknowledged the significant challenges associated with being “one of few” within a workplace and having to “work twice as hard as their men counterparts”.
- The impact of workplace culture. In discussions surrounding workplace culture and its impact on their experiences, women identified instances of gender stereotyping and harassment as typical.
- Public perception of industry opportunities for women. The majority of participants advised that although they had an interest in the trades they had never contemplated the industry as a possibility because it was perceived as “male-dominated”.
- Industry support for women’s advancement. Participants’ general perception was that, compared to their male colleagues, women experienced more barriers to advancement than men. They attributed these barriers to a constant need to conform to their male colleagues’ style, adapt to the workplace culture, and earn respect within the industry in order to be considered for promotion.
- Resources for women in the sector. The value of resources designed to facilitate women’s involvement in the industry resonated throughout all focus groups. Participants unpacked three key priorities: mentorship, training and development, and networking.
The needs assessment report is the first phase of the Advancing Women in Automotive Knowledge Exchange project. With the collaboration of key industry partners, an action plan will be developed based on report recommendations. The action plan will include the development of an online portal to support networking and knowledge sharing, the development of employer tool kits to assist with the recruitment of women in the sector and the development of an inclusive work environment, and the sharing of best practices as it relates to promoting gender balance at various levels of the industry.
“A considerable body of research has provided an extensive amount of data supporting the business case for companies to diversify their workforce. This needs assessment report offers a glimpse into where we are as an industry and provides a roadmap to improving the industries’ labour outlook by addressing the low representation of women in the automotive aftermarket.” - France Daviault, Senior Director of Industry Relations, AIA Canada speaking on the reasoning behind the needs assessment.
“This is not a women’s issue, this is an industry issue.” - France Daviault, Senior Director of Industry Relations, speaking at AIA’s Women’s Leadership Conference held June 16, 2016.
“The aftermarket sector is well-positioned to take a leadership role in promoting change and in working to eliminate the barriers that women face working in traditionally male-dominated sectors. I am pleased to say that industry leaders in the automotive aftermarket sector have stepped up to the plate and have committed their support for this important project.” - France Daviault, Senior Director of Industry Relations, AIA Canada speaking on the role company leaders have to play in generating change at the Canadian Collision Industry Forum held in Montreal in May, 2016.
This project was made possible through funding from Status of Women Canada, a federal government organization that promotes equality for women and their full participation in the economic, social and democratic life of Canada.
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2016 Women’s Leadership Conference Welcome Message from Honourable Patricia A. Hajdu, Minister of Status of Women Canada
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About the Automotive Aftermarket Sector
The automotive aftermarket sector in Canada is a $19.4 billion industry that employs more than 420,000 people in every community across the country. The automotive aftermarket sector is made up of companies that manufacture, distribute and install automotive replacement parts, accessories, tools, and equipment.
About AIA Canada
The Automotive Industries Association (AIA) of Canada is the national trade association that brings together the entire automotive aftermarket supply and service chain. AIA’s mandate is to promote, educate and represent members in all areas that impact the growth and prosperity of the industry. To learn more, please visit www.aiacanada.com.
For more information, please contact Communications at:
180 Elgin Street, Suite 1400
Ottawa, ON K2P 2K3 1-800-808-2920, ext. 233