What women think about working in motor body repair

With unemployment levels at an all time high, the South African Motor Body Repairers’ Association (SAMBRA), a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), recently ran a survey for women working in the sector entitled Women Driving Change: Women in MBR.

Richard Green, National Director of SAMBRA, explained that SAMBRA was eager to find out whether women find the industry a good fit and a workplace they would recommend to other women.

“The results of the survey are encouraging. Of the nearly 90 respondents the majority said they didn’t find it too difficult to get into the industry and are very happy to be in MBR,” Green said.

“Nearly 80% of respondents have been in MBR for five years plus, which I would like to believe is an indication that they are settled in this career path.”

Interestingly, the Women Driving Change survey revealed that the majority of women ended up in the field through a family business (37.93%).

When asked what training opportunities they would be interested in undertaking, the majority said they want to see more apprenticeships for women.

Green agrees, adding that apprenticeships are an excellent way to develop a trade-specific skill and enter the motor body repair sector, especially for young people (the minimum age for an apprenticeship is 16).

“An apprenticeship combines theory, practical work and workplace experience in a chosen trade field. In the case of a listed trade it ends in a trade test and you receive an artisan certificate of competence,” he explains.

“It usually takes three to four years to achieve artisan status, after which employment is generally guaranteed should the parties agree to a continued employment relationship.”

Other findings of the Women Driving Change: Women in MBR survey:

1.            Nearly 46% of women are owners or managers. 39% work in admin or reception roles.

2.            Stereotyping stands out as the biggest challenge for women in the sector (44.71%), followed by gender bias (41.18%), getting equal pay (34.12%), inappropriate behaviour (30,59%), equal opportunity (30,59%), lack of access to training (17.65%) and other (15.29%).

3.            On how satisfied respondents are with their current role, 39.08% said they love the industry and are eager to progress in their career.

“We see too that there are many reasons women work in motor body repair but most recipients said they enjoy it because the work is varied and challenging,” Green says.

“Many of our recipients commented they are in the sector to help change gender stereotypes – which, as we see from this survey, continue to affect women. SAMBRA is fully in support of helping to make the changes necessary for women to thrive unhindered in their chosen career paths in the motor industry.”

In response to the question “what is your ultimate motor body repair career ambition”, most said they want to start their own business or be promoted.

In conclusion, the respondents aired their views on what would make working in motor body repair more appealing to women.

“In a place where there are mostly men working, the business still needs a little bit of finesse and proper organisation to smooth off the hard edges,” said one respondent.

Another believes there should be an emphasis on acknowledging and developing talent from the recruiting stage.

PHOTO: Women increasingly being attracted to MBR sector – Annelie Kruger, owner Carty Convenience