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Diversity in Automotive – Key Findings from Deloitte’s Women at the Wheel Study

The automotive industry globally has experienced rapid change and progression over the past decade. This rate of disruption is showing no signs of slowing down amid the backdrop of factors such as COVID-19, global trade tensions and rising demand for electric vehicles.

In the face of this challenging operating environment, we are likely to see an increased focus on driving efficiency gains and cost base restructuring. While this will help, OEMs and dealers all over the world are missing out on one of the greatest sources of competitive advantage available to them – diversity in the workforce.

Despite accounting for 47% of the total workforce, women make up only 11% of OEM Executives, 24% of total OEM staff and 18% of dealership employees globally1.

In order to survive, and ultimately thrive, improving the representation of women across all levels has to become a non-negotiable priority for OEMs and Dealers across the world.

It starts with recruitment, then retention. Our study highlights that currently, 40% of women in the automotive industry say they would choose to work in a different industry if they were to start their career again1.

Here are 3 considerations to boost the retention of women at both a Dealership and OEM level.

According to Deloitte’s study1,55% of women are seeking greater engagement with others in the industry who are going through similar challenges. Organisations, and the industry as a whole, need to create and promote communities that enable men and women to connect and collaborate.

These initiatives need full buy-in from men and women alike and cannot be seen purely as a branding exercise. There needs to be an unwavering focus on providing women in automotive with the skills and networks they need to succeed in the industry

For many women it takes a senior leader noticing their potential to help them recognise it themselves. Men currently have more access to sponsor and mentoring relationships and as such, women in automotive are missing out on critical support structures.

Deloitte’s report found that women with formal mentors and sponsors (staff who actively seek recognition and promotion for the person they sponsor) feel far more equipped and excited about their future in the industry.

There is an immediate need to create and implement formal, structured mentor and sponsorship programs to provide women with the support and motivation needed to excel in automotive.

When asked what would help women feel more prepared to face challenges in the future, the most common response was ‘a better understanding of new or changing roles and what skills are needed’.

With the skills required to be successful in the industry changing at a rapid pace, learning and development must be a top priority to drive retention of both male and female staff.

Dealers and OEMs need a robust, formal learning and development strategy that equips staff to excel amid a rapidly changing automotive landscape.

Please give us a call if you have any thoughts around making our industry more of an ‘employer of choice’ over the coming years.