The Automotive Industries Association (AIA) of Canada is pleased to announce the launch of the Advancing Women in Automotive Knowledge Exchange (AWAKE) project. The three-year project aims to promote the recruitment, retention and advancement of women in the automotive aftermarket industry across Canada.
In collaboration with key partners and professionals working in the industry, the project will create an action plan and offer recommendations for more inclusive and supportive employment environments for women. The action plan will also include the development of an online portal to support networking and knowledge sharing on employment practices and professional development activities, will pilot the development of a tool kit for the recruitment and retention of women in the sector, and will provide tools to assist with succession planning and to ensure that women are represented at various levels of the industry.
AWAKE is also one of the achievements of the Women’s Leadership Advisory Committee’s work. This advisory committee first reached out to AIA Canada after the inaugural Women’s Leadership Conference in June 2014. Not only have they helped spearhead the development of a – now – annual conference for the women in the industry but, as AWAKE project ambassadors, they have provided valuable feedback in terms of identifying sector needs and creating a plan to increase the recruitment, retention and advancement of women in the automotive aftermarket.
The first phase of the project began with AIA Canada hosting an online survey for human resources representatives, senior managers, hiring managers, CEOs and business owners. The goal of the survey is to collect information about human resources practices and board policies related to the recruitment and professional development of women in automotive aftermarket businesses across Canada. As a second phase, AIA Canada will be hosting focus groups with women employed in the automotive aftermarket industry in various cities across Canada to identify where any potential knowledge gaps exist.
Requests for participation in the project, project reports and updates will be made available on AIA Canada’s website, www.aiacanada.com. You may also join the conversation on social media following the hashtag #awakeAIA.
- Project activities will be piloted and evaluated with industry association members and partners to create sustainable opportunities and to support the advancement of women in the automotive aftermarket. They include a needs assessment, development of strategic partnerships and of a sector plan to recruit, retain, and advance women in the automotive aftermarket sector.
- Women have made gains in several sectors and professions where they have been underrepresented yet they continue to have low representation in the skilled trades, technology and science-based professions. For example, in 2012, women held just 11.8% of construction jobs, 19% of forestry, fishing, mining, oil, and gas jobs, and 30.5% of agricultural jobs.
- Women represent nearly half of the Canadian workforce yet they hold only 15.9% of corporate board positions in FP500 companies. Nearly 40% of FP500 companies and close to half of publicly traded companies have no women on their boards.
“While women have made gains in several sectors and professions where they have been underrepresented, they continue to have low representation in the skilled trades, technology and science-based professions. Thanks to the Ambassadors and Women’s Leadership Advisory Committee members, AWAKE aims to help close this gap in the automotive aftermarket industry.” – France Daviault, Senior Director of Industry Relations, AIA Canada.
"We look forward to collaborating with industry stakeholders from different provinces to help women achieve this goal. We are proud to partner with the Government of Canada on this project so that more women can advance in the automotive aftermarket industry in Canada. " – Leanne Jefferies, Director, Collision Programs, AIA Canada, member of AIA’s Women’s Advisory Council.
"The Canadian automotive aftermarket industry offers exciting opportunities for a diverse range of skilled professionals, including women. This project will open doors for women and help them to advance within this sector. Their contribution strengthens both industry and our economy." – Patricia Lazzarotto, Canadian Director, National Accounts, Crowne Automotive Aftermarket Group, member of AIA’s Women’s Advisory Council.
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.
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.