Other Industries Compete For Female Staff

Other Industries Compete For Female Staff

An interesting US survey carried out by Deloitte in 2018 involved 200 women in automotive representing their career outlook in original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), automotive suppliers, car dealers, finance companies and other organisations.

The purpose of this research was to detect any trends as well as look at ways to improve the recruitment, retention and advancement of women in the industry.

While the US and UK automotive sectors continue to struggle to create the gender-diverse workforce both know they need — only 1 percent of survey respondents ranked automotive as the best sector to work in — many other industries are doing significantly better at attracting and retaining women.

Careers Women Prefer

Industries that showed a significant competitive edge in hiring women were education (38 percent), technology, media, and telecom (10 percent), financial services (10 percent), consumer products (9 percent), and life sciences (9 percent).

Furthermore, 47 percent of survey respondents said they would consider moving to another industry if they were to start again. The most attractive alternatives for this group are technology, media, and telecom (77 percent), life sciences and medical devices (55 percent), and financial services (54 percent).

Why Not Automotive Careers?

A number of underlying issues act as a barrier to women joining the auto industry. These include negative perceptions about the workplace environment; respondents described

  • the work environment as unappealing (65%)
  • a perceived lack of work/life balance (59 percent)
  • a lack of flexibility in work schedules (46 percent)
  • few advancement opportunities (39 percent)

Fortunately, despite these perceived obstacles, the study revealed some opportunities for auto businesses to attract female staff. For example, more than half (53 percent) of the respondents said the promise of competitive remuneration and opportunities for challenging and interesting assignments were the top two reasons they would choose the automotive sector if they were to start their career over again.

Female Perceptions About Automotive

A comparison of these results from the 2015 Women at the Wheel survey to the current one suggests that women feel that things are worsening in the sector.

For example, in 2015, 64 percent of the survey respondents said they had seen a marked or positive change in the automotive industry’s attitude toward women over the previous five years. However, only 55 percent expressed the same opinion in the 2018 survey results.

Recommendations re Gender Diversity

The survey results indicate that the automotive industry still has some work to do to create, retain, and advance a gender-diverse workplace.

Here are some of the recommendations from Deloitte.

1) Industry leaders should address the problem of under-representation of women in the executive ranks.

The study suggest that 81 percent of women feel that a key contributor to this issue is a general bias in the industry towards having men in leadership positions. Other factors that are hindering the growth of women to senior management positions include inflexible organisational cultural norms (66 percent) and the lack of management support for women (50 percent).

2) There may be a case for employers encouraging formal and informal (sometimes both) networking groups to provide support and guidance to their female workers.

However 58 percent of the Deloitte respondents said these groups hadn’t been effective in advancing their careers. We’d question whether group dynamics might be too impersonal and slow, knowing there are so many ambitious and talented individuals who are impatient to carve their own route into the Boardroom, ahead of others.

3) Having a mentor works.

Catering more for a 1:1 career development relationship, having a mentor is undoubtedly a critical factor in retaining talent, Deloitte found.

This echoes the findings of a study carried out by the Center for Talent Innovation confirming that women in STEM careers with sponsors are:

  • 22 percent more likely to be satisfied with their rate of promotion;
  • 37 percent more likely to ask for a raise;
  • 70 percent more likely to have their ideas endorsed;
  • 119 percent more likely to have their ideas developed; and
  • 200 percent more likely to have their ideas implemented.

Diversity In Automotive In 2020

The Automotive 30% Club is doing great work encouraging the employment of women by car manufacturers and leading car dealers but a 30% target falls well short of equality.

We need to see more women running their own automotive businesses – if you can’t see her, you can’t imagine being her.

Even in 2020 the face and voice you are most likely to see and hear in automotive is white and male. And even when the male CEO proudly announces that his board and business welcomes women – where are they and why aren’t they the spokesperson for this, not him?

Needless to say, gender and race considerations should never prevent talent from rising to the top but one has to conclude that in 2020 it still seems to.

Despite more than 40 UK automotive trade organisations each promoting their own sectors and members as the best businesses, regardless of minimum quality standards in too many cases, the overall industry STILL suffers a poor reputation and image among men and women drivers.

How To Improve Automotive Career Appeal

Clearly altering such lacklustre perceptions once and for all won’t be a simple fix BUT what if a higher and independent auto organisation were tasked with…

  • naming, shaming and outlawing bad businesses across the UK industry
  • assuming responsibility for the auto industry’s image and reputation
  • marketing the best businesses as female friendly employers…

wouldn’t this establish a higher and united platform for quality standards, operational performance/customer satisfaction levels, equal pay and marketing efforts, based on best practice and shared values – regardless of sector?

And then ambitious men and women would know they can rely on these businesses as good employers in future.

Another female business/recruitment opportunity may present itself post Coronavirus as more of us shop and work from home…

By all means contact Steph Savill via info@FOXYLadyDrivers.com for further thoughts about this subject.

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