MORE action is needed if the automotive industry is to meet the target of 30 per cent of key roles filled by women by 2030.
That was one of the key messages from the UK Automotive 30% Club’s fourth annual conference, which centred around the theme of Countdown To 30% By 2030. The full-day seminar included a wide range of guest speakers from across the automotive sector.
The event, sponsored by Auto Trader and hosted at its London offices, took place on the same day it was announced that the classified advertising business had been placed at number nine on this year’s Inclusive Top 50 UK Employers list – last year it was number 12.
The HR directors of Volkswagen Group, Jardine Motors Group and Toyota GB shared their experience of sponsoring the club’s activities, including the Inspiring Automotive Women outreach campaign, Inspiring Automotive Women Awards and Inspiring e-zine.
A panel of automotive leaders including Groupe PSA managing director Alison Jones, Volvo Cars UK managing director Kristian Elvefors and JCT600 chief executive John Tordoff explained how they were addressing the gender imbalance in their organisations.
In addition, Auto Trader chief operating officer Catherine Faiers and agency and manufacturing director Rebecca Clark joined Dealer Auction chief executive Le Etta Pearce on the Lifting As We Rise panel to discuss the impact of embedding a more diverse and inclusive culture into their businesses.
Faiers said: ‘As a business, we’re firm believers that creating a diverse and inclusive culture is about instilling a working environment in which all our colleagues can bring their true selves to work. In doing so, we attract a broad range of talent, skills and fresh thinking, which is so vital in today’s competitive landscape.’
Julia Muir, the UK Automotive 30% Club’s founder, said: ‘Starting in 2020, we need to take real action to accelerate and innovate, to do what is right for business but also for society. We need to put the foundations in place to ensure more women apply for jobs and promotions, and to ensure the barriers to progression are removed to ensure the capable and high-performing women fulfil their potential and are retained, in order to achieve business growth and unlock productivity and profitability gains as soon as possible.’
Paul Philpott, president and chief executive of Kia Motors UK, said: ‘We’re committed to creating a more inclusive and gender balanced working culture at Kia. We know for it to be a success it has to come from the top, and that we need to work with our dealer partners and suppliers to make sure that at all levels we are moving forward in terms of diversity. We’re still on our journey, but we’re proud of where we are.’