Women choose different employee benefits

Thanks to payandbenefitsmagazine.co.uk

A couple of years ago I attended a conference about employer/employee benefits where I had wanted to see if FOXY Lady Drivers Club might be a good one for caring employers with a large female workforce.

When I suggested this I got the same answer from three of the biggest schemes ie FOXY wasn’t inclusive (it’s just for women) and they couldn’t offer it for women alone.

So today I was interested to read research from PwC confirming what I’ve always known, that there is a sharp difference between what men and women want from employer benefit schemes, salary add-ons and staff perks.

Apparently a one size fits all approach no longer works.

For example, the PwC study of c2400 UK employees found that medical insurance was valued higher by women than men whereas company car schemes were rated higher by men. And so on…

PwC’s Alastair Woods explains ‘Put simply, men tend to prefer shares and pensions while women tend to prefer medical insurance and childcare vouchers. But it was hard to draw really firm conclusions other than that employees need an increase in choice.’

Those businesses that need supporting research to make commonsense decisions about staff benefits like this can now see that women and men don’t want (or have) to be treated the same in terms of employer benefits. This is a good thing…

This is not an equality thing

But for any Doubting Thomases, let’s not confuse this with equality considerations in any way (as many often do).

Men and women are entitled to the same education, rate of pay, jobs and training opportunities as well as parental work sharing/responsibilities. This approach is called Feminism and it’s why men can and should be Feminists too.

But when it comes to spending money or shopping we are very different.

By all means contact me if you’d like to offer a low cost employer benefit (ie FOXY Lady Drivers Club membership) for your female staff or customers. It’s an exclusive and caring service to help women run safer and more reliable cars, for less, and with a friendly 1:1 support service when motoring gets stressful. All these areas affect staff performance of course.

Employers can then be seen to do the right thing re any grey female fleet of drivers/cars whilst meeting their duty of care at a low price. And Club members ie women drivers can trust us to always put their (family) best interests first.

FOXY Steph

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Hillary for US President?

hillary

As a feminist I am delighted to see Hillary Clinton standing for President of the USA. It’s about time that country had its first female leader to act as a role model for the talented women both our countries need in politics.

But not everyone will share my sentiments and she’s going to get a shed load of adverse comments re her gender, her age, her hair and being a ‘wife’… from men and women alike.

Yesterday I heard a commentator say ‘we know very little about her’ as if that was her fault not theirs.

And then about her health because she fainted once in 2012…

And then Peter Hitchens wonders if she’ll get votes because she’s a women rather than because of her left wing tendencies.

Already she is being criticised for her marriage to Bill (again) and her campaign funds (as if anyone would set out for the White House without the wealth to get there).

Nobody cares to remember that she was Obama’s chosen Secretary of State until very recently, travelling the world to calm and influence troubled international waters.

Challenging a man’s world…

Hillary seems damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t in the masculine world of US politics…

It’s still a man’s world in the automotive industry too and no naturally masculine industry wants to change the status quo if it can help it. Unless the individuals within it are sufficiently liberated and well informed to appreciate the diversity benefits that the right gender balance will bring any team.

Clearly Obama was.

For change to come about this side of the pond, women have to DO something to achieve the lifestyle and work balance they want. We can’t sit still and wait for change to come to us. Nothing happens when you do nothing as the following examples suggest…

+ Do nothing and there will be few if any female directors on UK car manufacturer and the top 100 dealership boards.

+ Do nothing and women customers will continue to be treated like men, thus perpetuating the image that garages and dealerships can and should be more female friendly.

+ Do nothing and there will be very few females selling cars when women could do this job well and many (female and male) customers would love to have this choice.

+ Do nothing and young talented females will continue to choose careers outside the motor industry (and politics?) preferring other, evidently more women friendly routes…

Let’s not forget it has taken Lord Davies, funding and lots of sabre rattling to get FTSE boards to recruit women in the first place. And whilst a 25% female board including short term (ie potentially disposable) Non Executive Directors is by no means equality it is a long way ahead of the motor industry that has yet to pick up this gender baton. And it took a carrot and stick approach to get the final stragglers to the FTSE party.

Women should support women…

I would love to see a shared commitment from men and women working in the UK motor industry to open welcoming career doors wide to women of all ages as customers and potential staff; working en masse to restore the lacklustre image of this unlicensed industry to its shiny potential.

I am offended when clever and successful women (who should know better) forget they are female, set out to outbloke their male colleagues and fail to stick up for other women making a difference in their career lane.

I am then reminded of US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s saying when she encountered this sort of resistance – “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”

So let 2016 be Hillary’s best year ever, regardless of her age, her looks and her gender. Let her carry on her hard work, emotional responses and caring politics and may she act as the ultimate role model to others, encouraging young women to pitch for the very top in their respective careers including politics. Without forgetting that they are females representing their gender throughout their diverse lives…

I hope she will be given the chance to succeed. I’m sure she’s tough enough to handle the male gender abuse she’ll get and I hope she can count on the support of her gender as she attempts to climb her highest career peak yet, even from those females that don’t share her politics.

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Men buy cars but women tell them which ones

img_0003I was interested in the latest car buying research from Sainsbury’s Bank. This was originally averaged across both genders so I asked for the female facts which they kindly supplied.

Knowing how significant women are when it comes to the car shopping choice, I wanted to see any gender differences here. Women buy c50% of all new cars and ‘influence’ c80% of all cars bought but will men admit this and might women ‘risk’ their relationship by pointing this out to Sainsbury’s!

So as you can see I add a modicum of scepticism to motoring research that is based on male opinions or estimates because most men try to impress when a survey is based on opinions whereas women are more likely to be realistic and often secretive when it comes to money. This usually makes us seem more conservative than men.

So, taken with a large gender pinch of salt, Sainsbury’s research tells us that

+ Nearly one in five British women (17%) are currently thinking about buying a car over the next six months, compared with 28% of men
+ The average amount females anticipate spending is £9,073, slightly lower than the average (£10,290) and significantly less than men who anticipate spending £11,002
+ 35% of female car buyers plan to use a loan to make up part of their purchase, slightly lower than average (42%) and 10 percentage points lower than men (45%)
+ 15% of female car buyers are likely to consider a personal loan, compared to 31% of males.

On average 25% of people will use a loan to finance their purchase and Sainsbury’s loan calculator helps check the best deal.

All in all, there are some great new car deals and finance terms around to tempt we women.

FOXY Steph

NB: This research was conducted before pension freedom day when we’d expect more women over 55 to consider buying a new car after drawing down pension income.

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Home Secretary Theresa May visits PK Automotive in Lincoln

PK_Theresa May1

When you are one of the best businesses in the motor industry, like PK Automotive Solutions (PK) in Lincoln, doing all the right things and with professional staff and smart premises to be proud of, you can expect the likes of politicians to come knocking at your door.

So it probably wasn’t much of a surprise when PK was chosen as a prime business to visit by Home Secretary Theresa May.

She was visiting Lincoln at the invitation of Conservative MP (March 2015) Karl McCartney who explained how this came about.

“Theresa May and I go back 20 years to my early years in the party and I was really keen to invite her to Lincoln to see a real success story in PK. They also look after a number of Lincolnshire Police vehicles.” Karl McCartney JP (and Lincoln MP in March 2015).

The business case for apprentices

With four apprentices taken on in as many years, PK encourages further vocational development through a combination of on-the-job learning, external education and practical hands-on experience. The business knows from its practical experience that offering training and ongoing support to new technicians and people entering the motor trade is essential to both maintain their interest and loyalty as well as to improve and fine-tune their skills.

Coming from a training background himself, Paul Killingsworth (PK’s owner) puts this experience into practice on a daily basis, often training the apprentices himself.

Ashley Maclaughlin, PK’s latest apprentice, was surprised and then delighted to meet Theresa May on his first day. He discussed his new career path and aspirations with her adding afterwards “She’s very nice and easy for me to talk to.”

Well done PK Automotive!

It’s not every day that the Home Secretary pays a visit to meet and talk to and about apprentices. In fact, to the best of my knowledge, this is the first time that such an influential figure has taken time out to listen to the viewpoint about industry standards on behalf of other quality independent garages.

It’s worth reminding blog readers that PK has recently been awarded the IMI Employer Recognition Award; this is further proof of their professionalism and a guarantee of the highest quality of service, knowledge and skills within the automotive sector.
PK is also the only FOXY Lady Approved ie female friendly independent garage in Lincoln recruited on the basis of these standards. As such they maintain an exclusive 5 mile area within our network of garages for local women drivers.

Licensing in the motor industry

This is a subject dear to FOXY’s heart too. Whilst research suggests that over 70% of consumers think it is a legal requirement for technicians and anybody carrying out repairs on your car to hold a licence to practice, this is not the case.

Many technicians, garages and industry leaders including PK Automotive Solutions (and FOXY Lady Drivers Club) are backing the move for licensing so that only The Professionals can work on your car.

This matters because, if you get your car repaired by somebody who is not qualified to do the job and doesn’t have the right skills or know how, this could be VERY expensive AND dangerous.

FOXY Steph

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Will pension freedom create British car buying bonanza?

jaguar_rally_c1761211_1371_453People aged 55 and over can now do what they like with their retirement savings rather than have to buy an annuity to get a guaranteed monthly income for life.

This will affect an estimated c500,000 individuals with many likely to cash in their pension pots to buy a new car, creating a potential car sales bonanza for car dealers.

And wouldn’t it be nice if this could benefit UK based car manufacturers and contribute the entire price paid directly into the UK economy? Rather than shoring up rival German, French and non British manufacturers and economies perhaps?

Clearly car dealerships selling these European cars employ UK staff, pay taxes and contribute to the UK economy in this way but for those who would prefer to ‘Buy British’ what are your choices?

Only three are wholly British owned and expensive with it, but happily there are still cars that are made ie assembled in Britain, providing important manufacturing jobs, as follows.

BRITISH OWNED

+ Caterham Cars Ltd

+ McLaren Automotive

+ Morgan Motor Company Ltd

MADE IN BRITAIN

bond-is-great_2357211b

The following companies build cars in Britain, but are not UK owned.

Aston Martin is owned by two Kuwaiti companies (Investment Dar and Adeem Investments) and builds the DB9, Rapide, Virage and DBS in Gaydon, Warwickshire.

Bentley Motors is owned by Volkswagen and builds the Continental, Flying Spur and Mulsanne models in Crewe, Cheshire.

Honda is Japanese owned and builds the Civic, CRV and Jazz in Swindon, Wiltshire.

Jaguar/Land Rover cars are built in the West Midlands and Liverpool and owned by Tata Motor Company of India.

Lotus is Malaysian owned and builds the Elise, Evora and Exige in Norfolk.

MG Motors builds the MG3 and MG6 in Birmingham, owned by SAIC of China.

MINI builds in Cowley, Oxford and is owned by BMW in Germany.

Nissan is Japanese owned and builds the Juke, Qashqai, Note and LEAF in Sunderland.

Toyota is Japanese owned and builds the Auris and Avensis in Derbyshire.

Rolls Royce is owned by BMW and builds the Ghost, Phantom and Wraith in West Sussex.

Vauxhall Motors are part of US General Motors and build Astras at Ellesmere Port and the Vivaro van in Luton

In case you wonder why there is no mention of Ford, they no longer produce cars in the UK but still manufacture engines in Bridgend & Dagenham as well as transmissions in Halewood.

And for those that might think I have forgotten the iconic three wheeled Robin Reliant, this was transferred to a company called B&N Plastics in Suffolk that still supplies car parts but sadly there are no production plans for new Robins at the moment…

FOXY Steph

PS: If I have missed anything or got this wrong in any way please email me at steph@foxyladydrivers.com to update this.

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