For college students, few questions are as daunting as, “What will you do after graduation?” The transition from the world of academia to the working world can often be difficult. Millions of college seniors have recently begun the final year of their education and are beginning to contemplate what direction their professional careers will take. The automotive industry offers a viable, lucrative, and rewarding career path.
The importance of the automotive industry to the economy as a whole cannot be understated. In a recent report, the Center for Automotive Research uncovered statistics that highlight the robust nature of the automotive industry. The report found that more than 7 million jobs are supported by automotive manufacturers, suppliers, and dealers across the United States. Approximately $500 billion are paid to automotive employees annually. Additionally, the automotive industry is a major contributor to the economy by indirectly creating jobs. Just one automotive job can indirectly create many other jobs in the supplier, service, and sales departments. These findings by the Center for Automotive Research highlight the auto industry’s importance and influence on the economy.
Ford has recently made headlines with its announcement that it is outsourcing American manufacturing jobs. This is despite the fact that, prior to this announcement, there was evidence that the US automotive industry was thriving. According to the Detroit Free Press, “The U.S. auto industry now employs more workers than it has at any time since March 2008, at the beginning of the Great Recession when the industry and economy in general started a sharp descent.” The industry has been buoyed by strong sales figures, a trend that USA Today believes will last until 2018. This growth will lead to more employment opportunities in the automotive field.
When you think about innovative companies, you probably think about technology startups in Silicon Valley instead of automotive companies in places like Louisiana and Michigan. Forbes believes, however, that “The carmaker of the future may look more like a tech startup than a manufacturing giant… The dawn of ‘infotainment’ and autonomous driving technology, has helped carmakers gain traction with the startup set.” The increase in available vehicle options, such as a Heads Up Display and in-vehicle connectivity, can create new kinds of automotive jobs and attract talented graduates to the automotive industry.
Recent headlines may lead you to believe that the automotive industry is a less than ideal field for American workers. The reality, however, is very different. Record auto sales have reenergized the automotive sector, and the potential for future growth looks to be limitless. Newly graduated students tend to gravitate toward exciting and innovative startup companies and there are a number of automotive companies that fit that description. The future for both college seniors and the automotive industry look bright. Working together, talented graduates and the automotive industry can shape the future of transportation.