Majority of women have seen positive change in car industry but seek greater representation at a senior level

Time 10 months ago

Some 68 per cent of women have seen a positive change in the automotive industry’s attitude towards women employees in the last five years, a new survey has revealed.

Deloitte’s Women in Automotive Industry research surveyed 110 women working in the sector.

It also found that half of women feel unprepared to navigate the future of the industry, with this feeling particularly prevalent in traditional back office functions.

Some 40 per cent would choose a different industry if they could go back, while 50 per cent of women would leave the automotive industry altogether due to lack of promotion opportunities, organisational cultural norms, poor work-life balance and an uncertain industry future.

percentage of women who feel under-represented in senior positions

The survey discovered that 90 per cent of women feel they are under-represented in leadership positions, with 42 per cent believing an industry bias towards men still exists for leadership positions, driven by ‘organisational cultural norms’.

Moreover, 57 per cent of women do not see a career path to get to the level they want in the auto industry.

Sarah Noble, Deloitte automotive director and founder of Women at the Wheel UK: ‘The long-term success of any company requires a strong focus on people, yet the automotive industry remains behind many other industries when it comes to gender diversity.

‘Women currently only represent 20 per cent of the automotive workforce, dropping below 10 per cent at executive level.

‘Our research found that the majority of women have seen positive changes in attitudes towards female employees over the last five years.

‘However, under-representation at a leadership level is still strongly felt. In a predominantly male industry with few female role models at the top, male allies remain critical to the success of gender diversity initiatives.’

Noble added: ‘The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated trends that were already emerging: Normalising flexible working and bringing greater awareness around caring responsibilities.

‘As automotive companies embrace these changes on a more permanent basis, it is also clear that gender diversity can also help gain competitive advantage. Focussing on recruitment, retention and opportunity will be key to making long-term change possible.’

Survey respondents came from OEMs, suppliers, dealers and finance companies, with roles varying from apprentices through to senior leaders.

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer.

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