Sytner has launched a network group to create better equality for women in the automotive industry and the company itself.
Announcing it as part of International Women’s Day 2022, it highlighted a Deloitte survey of 100 people in the UK automotive industry, which revealed that women were more likely to leave the motor industry because of lack of promotion opportunities and a poor work-life balance.
It also found that 90 per cent of women felt under-represented in leadership positions. The most common factor was industry bias towards men for the roles.
But three-fifths said they’d seen positive change over the past five years in terms of attitude towards women colleagues.
Jayne Cuthbertson, pictured left, who is a mechanic at Mercedes-Benz of Sunderland, said: ‘When I started my apprenticeship in the industry, I was young and I didn’t know what to expect going into a “man’s” environment, but I was up for it and went in with all my all.
‘Sytner Group Mercedes-Benz is the best company I have worked for in my career.
‘I have felt welcomed into the workshop just as one of the lads. I get along with everyone and I’m included with all of the jokes and conversations in the workshop, so the people I work with make it a great company to work for.
‘Being a female in a male environment was definitely scary at the start but I would recommend any woman interested in the motor trade to come and do it.
‘I can guarantee you will not regret it. I didn’t.’
The group has 30 members and is one of a number of network groups sharing key messages and spreading internal awareness about Sytner’s long-term diversity and inclusion strategy.
Emma Spedding, pictured right, who is head of business at Bradford Audi and chairperson of the gender network group, said: ‘I have always enjoyed working for Sytner.
‘I feel very lucky and privileged to work for a group that are always trying to better themselves for colleagues and customers. I work with a great team and the days go so quickly. We all work hard but we have fun along the way.
‘Although statistically it is more of a male-dominated workplace, it never feels that way. Sytner especially focuses on working as ‘‘One Team’’ and I feel like we are committed to creating a more inclusive environment.
‘As we continue to focus on diversity and inclusivity, I know Sytner will become more innovative and that will enable us to attract from the widest talent pools to give us the best team in the industry.
‘Women are brilliant in this industry, and if someone has the right mindset, integrity and drive then go for it! Nothing to lose and everything to gain.’
Jodie Williams, Sytner’s head of diversity and inclusion, said: ‘It’s important to acknowledge the current under-representations within the automotive industry.’
She added it was also vital to ‘focus our efforts on being bold and purposeful in giving colleagues equitable access to opportunities and continuing to support our colleagues to have great experiences every day’.