An all-new network has been created by MotoNovo Finance to help dealer and broker partners increase female representation at all levels across motor retailing.
Launched on April 6, GROW – Generating Real Opportunities for Women – aims to increase understanding in areas such as unconscious bias and to challenge, support and encourage meaningful discussions about gender issues in motor retailing when it comes to career development.
Above all, it is about encouraging everyone to appreciate the value of providing career opportunities for women at all levels as part of a broader move to embrace diversity and inclusion.
Analysis published recently by the IMI highlighted the importance of diversity and inclusion in meeting an industry skills shortage across the automotive sector.
With vacancies at a 20-year high at more than 23,000, it pointed out that a more diverse workforce was critical to turning the tide, and the lack of role models was a fundamental barrier to achieving that goal.
Focusing on gender disparity, the IMI’s work highlighted a clear industry issue – just 19 per cent of women are in senior roles compared with 39 per cent in the non-automotive workforce.
It is this type of gap that GROW aims to address, helping to create a more diverse workforce and inspiring more people to make the automotive sector their career choice.
Leading the GROW initiative is MotoNovo MD Karl Werner, pictured, who is an active member of The Automotive 30% Club.
The club’s ’30 by 30′ strategy aims to see at least 30 per cent of key leadership positions held by talented women by 2030, and it is a goal that MotoNovo has already exceeded, with a 50/50 gender structure in place across the business’s senior leaders team.
Reflecting on his support for GROW, Werner said: ‘Embracing diversity and inclusion in all its guises is central to MotoNovo’s culture.
‘We want to create a fairer society and have taken big strides to “raise our own bar” as an employer, broadening this out to support and encourage people and businesses across the motor retailing sector to adopt similar change and feel the benefits we see as a natural extension.’
GROW has received enthusiastic support from Automotive 30% Club founder Julia Muir, who hopes to speak at a future GROW event.
She voiced her support for the network, saying: ‘It’s great that MotoNovo Finance is taking action and launching GROW.
‘There’s strong evidence that women’s networks with a goal of inspiring, developing and supporting women have a significant positive impact on women’s progression.
‘Something special happens when women see that they are not alone.
‘Making connections and building relationships with other attendees and speakers helps women form an understanding of their worth, and then they learn strategies to ask for promotions, seek fair pay and even become mentors to others.
‘Male members learn that they’re the other half of the gender balance and that they will also benefit from changes.
‘Involvement should be encouraged and led from the top, as Karl Werner is doing.
‘Organisations with a predominantly male workforce could also establish a subgroup of their gender-balance network that acts as a friendship group for women across the company to get to know each other, connect and support each other.
‘I hope many more of our members will establish inclusion networks like GROW.’