To make it in the automobile industry, you have to be hardworking, friendly and diligent. To make it in the automobile industry as a female, you have to be a confident go-getter, in addition to all of the above.
Fortunately, the auto industry is attracting more and more of these strong, talented females, which means women have new career opportunities knocking at their doors. But why would a woman choose a male-dominated workplace over other options?
One word: opportunity.
According to a 2013 study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of women in the workforce has grown significantly since 1970. It peaked at 60% in 1999, and remains steadily around 58%. The automotive services industry in particular saw significant growth from 1983 to 2002, when the number of female workers increased 369%. http://www.bls.gov/cps/wlf-databook-2012.pdf
But, with women currently making up just 17% of the tire industry, there’s much room to improve.
Today is a prime time for women to step into a career path that’s atypical. By doing so, they have more opportunities to shine. Females in the auto and tire industries are one of few, not one of many; those who have what it takes to succeed will be noticed quickly.
At Tire Discounters, some of the traits we look for in all employees include:
- A competitive drive. In order to be successful you have to want it bad enough. Candidates should enjoy competitiveness and constantly look for ways to measure themselves against their peers.
- Self-discipline. Goal-oriented, sets their own personal goals in addition to the company’s expectations, and a self-starter with clear ideas of what he/she wants to achieve.
- Integrity. The single most important quality not just for work but long-term success in life in general. It’s the act of doing what is right in order to be honest with yourself and with others. It is a top priority for our company to build trust with our customers in order to deliver an outstanding customer experience.
- Courage. Someone who exhibits self-confidence and persistence in forcing an important issue even in the face of possible rejection.
- Accountability. Someone that honestly assesses his/her own strengths and weaknesses, proactively requests feedback and accepts responsibility for her/her own actions and performance.
- Women who can pair these skills with the drive to learn more will make a successful mark in a traditionally male-dominated industry.
Leverage ongoing education to stay ahead of the curve.
Success in the tire industry, like most fields, takes hard work. Not only do you have to show up ready to get your hands dirty every day, but some weeks you have to continue the work after hours to attend industry trainings, read trends and case studies, or take classes.
While time consuming, ongoing education will put you on the fast track to raises, promotions and an accomplished career. And as a female, education can be the competitive edge you need to rise above your peers and make it big.
Many employers offer complimentary learning opportunities for employees. If your company offers such benefits of additional education programs, make sure you’re first in line. You’ll build your skill set while demonstrating how dedicated you are to this industry. And, like many companies, dedication is an important employee quality for us at Tire Discounters.
Work confidently no matter the task.
When working in a male-dominated industry, it’s easy for women to lose confidence. We’re a minority when you get down to it, but that’s not necessarily a setback. It’s an opportunity to shine.
When I first started at Tire Discounters, I didn’t have any automotive industry knowledge or experience. I knew that in order to build trust with my colleagues and the company as a whole, I had to show them I could confidently talk about our company products, services and business objectives.
In my first month on the job I took the initiative to get out in the field and visit with the store employees and managers to get to know more about them and the importance of their roles within the organization. In addition, I attended a four-day class on Brake Diagnostics and Intro to ABS through Federal Mogul’s training program out of St. Louis. I wanted them to know that I wasn’t afraid to get my hands dirty. It helped me build the confidence I needed to engage our employees at all levels and helped them (and me) feel more confident in my abilities.
With a mix of confidence, dedication, a drive to learn and the willingness to take risks, females can not only survive but thrive in the tire industry.
Stephanie Huff is the Vice President of Human Resources and has been with Tire Discounters since March 2011. She was formerly Vice President of Recruitment and Training but quickly took over the entire Human Resource department including recruiting, training, employee relations, benefits and payroll. In her short time with Tire Discounters she has been a key contributor in helping to implement change and foster an environment for quick company growth. Prior to Tire Discounters, Stephanie worked with LexisNexis and Management Recruiters International where she focused heavily on developing strong talent acquisition programs and strategies. She graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in Organizational Communication.