New Chamber Survey: Youth Don't Think Auto Careers Are Cool

MACKINAC ISLAND — Youth and those who influence them don’t think auto careers are cool, according to a new survey released by the Detroit Regional Chamber Wednesday at its Mackinac Policy Conference.

The survey, compiled by for the chamber’s MICHauto program, was released at a private roundtable on the island wiht Fortune magazine’s Nina Easton.

Said MICHauto vice president Glenn Stevens: “Too few youth and the people who influence their career choices have a clear understanding of the exciting high-tech opportunities in the 21st century automotive industry. It’s no secret that misconceptions about the industry are hampering talent attraction efforts, but now we have data to help drive efforts to address this problem.”

Study participants were asked to respond to a series of questions
intended to provide insight into commonly held perceptions and assumptions regarding Michigan’s automotive industry that propel or hinder consideration for career opportunities, and the profile of parents, media and educators who shape perceptions of the industry.

The survey found that the auto industry was viewed as high tech, but not a growth industry. Less than half of influencers would recommend an auto career to a young person based on perceptions that the industry wouldn’t grow and had poor job security. Only 9 percent of influencers said the industry has a positive reputation, vs. 40 percent of youth.

The survey also found youth outside Michigan had even less likelihood to consider auto related careers than their peers in the state.

The MICHauto study, completed the week of May 19 by Clarkston-based Intellitrends, gathered feedback from 900 respondents,
consisting of youth age 17-24 and adult influencers, with participants
in both groups from inside and outside of Michigan. Influencers were
defined as parents with kids age 12-17, adults in leadership roles of
youth organizations, high school and college level educators, career
counselors and academic advisors.

“This study makes it clear that the automotive community needs to
increase awareness efforts and help dispel misconceptions about the
industry,” Stevens said. “A critical finding in this survey is that those
who influence our future workforce’s career decisions need more
insight into the rewarding careers in automotive. This group extends
well beyond education professionals, including parents and youth

MICHauto is also visiting universities across the state to promote the auto industry as high tech, global and growing.

The survey was part of a broader look at the industry’s future challenges. Talent attraction is only one — the world’s increasing urbanization, and the resulting need for fewer personal cars, and the fact that younger people are delaying buying cars, are also big challenges.

Serving as the unified voice of Michigan’s automotive cluster, MICHauto works closely with the Michigan Economic Development Corp., Original Equipment Suppliers Association, Center for Automotive Research and other Michigan and national organizations. To learn more visit

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  1. Pingback: Mackinac conversation underscores auto industry’s talent dilemma | Auto

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