Faced with an existential crisis only a few years ago, the auto industry is now back on its feet and creating jobs at an impressive rate. The "Big Three" American automakers have expanded production lines in the United States and strengthened their network of remaining dealerships, making for some exciting opportunities in virtually every facet of the industry. Whether you're a career welder, a finance graduate right out of college, or a motivated sales professional looking to take your income to the next level, you'll want to save this handy list of hot automotive jobs.
The one industry that's suffered more in the past decade than American automotive manufacturing is print journalism. Years ago, automotive journalists had the cushiest gig in the business: They were paid by well-read magazines to travel around the world and test high-performance cars. This business model no longer makes sense in today's lean economy, but that doesn't mean there aren't new opportunities cropping up for auto writers every day. Just keep your head in the cloud: Ad-driven car blogs, the online arms of established automotive publications, and the auto sections of major online newspapers all pay good money for quality car-related copy.
The auto industry isn't known for employing a lot of artsy types, but there's a place for everyone at major automakers' design facilities. Each new model's design process is a little different, but most automakers have in-house employees tasked with conceptualizing its body's aesthetics and mechanical components. Job openings in this secure, well-compensated sector can be fiercely contested, however.
Body and Paint Specialist
If actually working with cars is more your speed, look for job openings at a local body and paint shop. There are two main types of body shops: independents and those affiliated with new-car dealerships. Jobs at the former are more plentiful and provide for some on-the-job training, while dealership jobs tend to be cushier and attract experienced professionals. Regardless, body shops earn a great deal of their income from insurance payouts, which allows them to build a bigger profit cushion than oil-change and auto-repair shops.
The car dealerships that remain after the surge of closings in the late 2000s have been on a hiring tear recently, adding thousands of sales positions to their swelling payrolls. Selling cars is all about staying motivated and making connections. If you like the idea of having a say in the size of your paycheck and meeting potential clients face-to-face every day, you'd probably make a good sales associate.
Assembly Line Worker
These days, new assembly line jobs don't pay as much as they used to, but they're stable and increasingly plentiful. Career opportunities in automotive manufacturing vary by region, with fewer open positions in established manufacturing states like Michigan and Ohio and more in new, lower-cost strongholds like Tennessee and Mississippi. If you like working with your hands, the assembly line is your meal ticket.
Anyone who tells you that the auto industry is dead hasn't been watching the news recently. From design studios and primary manufacturing sites to dealerships and body shops, firms across this broad industry are ratcheting up their hiring processes in response to increased demand. Get on board today with a hot new automotive job.
Sara Randall lives and writes in London. She writes for www.carinsurance.org.uk where you can find more information on car insurance, trips, and tips for saving money when you drive.