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Where Are All the Women in Automotive?

In the automotive sector, there’s a workforce disparity. 

Look across all aspects of the industry – manufacturing, OEMs, and executive, retail dealerships, and independents. There are many more women working in automotive now than even 10 or 20 years ago. However, that growth is less than adequate considering the employment statistics. 

According to Catalyst Knowledge Center information:

•    Women occupy 26.7% of the positions in automotive manufacturing and vehicle equipment manufacturing industries. 

•    The participation rate for women in executive-level positions in vehicle manufacturing is 16.9%. 

•    Barely more than 1 in 5 dealership employees are women.

•    Just 7.3% of those employed in automotive repair and maintenance positions are female. 

•    Women of color are marginalized even further, making up just 8.9% of the manufacturing workforce and less than 3% of manufacturing management. 

Now, compare that with a very different statistic. Nearly two thirds (65%) of new car buyers are women!

It’s Time to Seek Parity

The statistics might come as a surprise, but it’s true. With so many women purchasing the vehicles dealerships sell, why is it that so few women occupy positions in the auto industry?
In a longtime male-dominated industry, it takes awhile to change course. There may be reasons for it also, such as fewer female applicants for positions. However, there is an argument for seeking parity in the automotive industry across every vertical – sales, service, manufacturing, management, and on. 

It’s completely feasible for a female car shopper to expect to interact with a female salesperson on the showroom floor. It may be more relatable, or a female may be less intimidating. That can apply to men in the industry as well. 

It’s the same when vehicle maintenance or repairs are necessary in the service department. And when more than half of new car buyers are women, doesn’t it make sense for a proportionate number of corporate-level executives to be of the same sex?

The automotive industry might be growing in sales but there’s significant room for improvement in gender equality. Each level of the industry should evaluate how they can address the disparity. Actively seek out women for new salesperson hires or service industry personnel. Encourage female co-workers to apply for promotions. 

It’s time for the automotive industry to more accurately reflect the demographic coming through the doors.


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Tags: automotive, disparity, women


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