Today marks International Women’s Day, a time for celebrating women’s achievements, while also calling for a more gender-balanced world.

Collective action and shared ownership for driving gender parity is what makes International Women’s Day successful – and today, we would like to acknowledge the achievements made by women in the automotive sector, and also push for change regarding the gender gap in the industry.

So what does the automotive sector currently look like genderwise? Taken from our recently launched annual report, these are our current insights into the gender difference, taken from our data on Google Analytics:

As we can see, the industry appears to be male dominated. Our data suggests that 75.37% of users on our website in 2018 were male – a high figure that we expected.

When examining the gender split for different roles on InAutomotive’s site, there were some stand out categories that showed a clear lack of female presence.

Franchise roles in 2018 had 0% interest from women, it would appear. Sales roles also showed a high figure for male presence on our site, 82.16% male to 17.84% female.

Automotive engineering roles also lacked interest from women, with just 22.58% browsing roles. In the past, engineering has notoriously been promoted as a male career. But in 2017, the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) reported that just 11% of the engineering workforce in the UK was female – which is clearly reflected in our findings. It also noted that just 15.1% of engineering undergraduates in the UK in 2017 were women.

The automotive industry is one of the most famously male-dominated work environments. For some, the car world seems like an impenetrable ‘old boys’ club’, with a strong male culture. It’s been male dominated for years, particularly in sales and management positions, and aspects like this are more than likely to drive a gender gap.

According to Arnold Clark’s website, just 33% of the automotive industry are women, and apparently 43% of women don’t trust the automotive industry.

Women are also widely underrepresented in automotive manufacturing across most countries in Europe. 24.2% of women were employed in the Manufacture of Motor Vehicles in the European Union. Just 15.8% were in the UK.

For those working in Wholesale and Retail Trade and Repair of motor vehicles, 15.6% of workers were women in the European Union. In the UK, 17.6% of workers in this sector were female.

There are some players in the industry, however, who are tackling the gender gap head on, and challenging views of how the industry will always be male dominated.

Arnold Clark for example, is one of the largest dealer groups in Europe. Their head of people, Lynne McBurney, is heavily focused on improving the gender balance within the organisation. Currently, 24% of the company is made up of women, and they are aiming to increase their female workforce by 5% over the next three years to redress the gender balance.

The automotive industry’s trade body, the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), is headed up by a woman, Lesley Woolley. And as an organisation, the IMI has a 60% female to male split. We contacted Lesley, and this is what she said:

Our partners, ABP Club said: “Women’s Automotive – in a highly male dominated industry – drives equality with a firm belief in full and inclusive participation, regardless of gender.

 

“Next month we launch the Women of Influence event to recognise the 40 most influential women working in our sector. Each are inspirational ambassadors for the wide range of roles in the accident repair and motor claims sector.”

As we can see, changes are being made – but is this happening quickly enough, and what needs to change to help spearhead talented women in to the automotive industry?

There are plenty of initiatives working towards bridging the gap in the industry, but what about other factors? Perhaps a change in education? Does the problem start at school, where gender stereotyping can prevent females from continuing studies in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths)? A change in role models perhaps? Or more creative campaigns, e.g. mentoring, coaching and setting objectives specifically catered to bringing women in to the industry? Perhaps an industry wide adaptation is the best way to begin shifting gears to become one that attracts the best talent from both genders.

What are your thoughts on the gender gap in the automotive industry? Leave a comment below.

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