There remain several areas where stereotypes about women still exist, and are too rarely challenged. Of all these industries, motoring is perhaps the most obvious.
Stereotypes do die away, though, eventually. Last year, The Independent found that men are four times more likely to commit a motoring offence than women. Women might be better and safer drivers, but what about when it comes to working in the automotive industry?
Interestingly, the number of women getting jobs in the sector is growing.
Women in automotive – the numbers
Recent figures from Eurostat show that 75,000 women worked in the UK’s automotive repair, wholesale and retail sector during 2017.
This is 18% of the total workforce in the sector. While it’s still a small proportion, the number’s growing, jumping up from around 61,000 in 2009. This is good news for those of us who want to see greater diversity in the motoring field. But there’s still work to be done.
Women’s perceptions of the industry
There’s still evidence that a lot of women do have a negative perception of the industry as a whole.
Deloitte’s Women at the wheel study from 2018 surveyed more than 200 women in the US. It found that the automotive industry ranked behind finance, technology, and education for appealing to and retaining women. Of those asked, 65% said that this was because it was an ‘unattractive environment for women’.
But changes can, and are, being implemented
The Deloitte study did point to initiatives businesses could implement that can change these perceptions. The idea is not only to promote better equity for women but to also plug the skills gap. The study cited key takeaways for employers including ‘formal and informal mentorship and sponsorship programs,’ and ‘flexible work practices.’ Another important strategy is to identify and encourage ‘the visibility of key leaders who serve as role models for employees’.
Crucially, initiatives like these show us that the automotive industry can change. Check out the VERCIDA database of employers in the sector. Our employers are rolling out initiatives like these and making the sector more supportive for women and all employees.