While there has been progress made in the UK in regards to gender imbalances and pay gaps in the workplace, it is clear that there is still a lot more that needs to be done. This is particularly true in the auto industry with new research revealing that there are perceived gender imbalances in the UK automotive retail sector that is deterring female jobseekers from looking for work in this industry (which could lead to a recruitment crisis in the coming years).
Research From Jardine Motors
The new research comes from car dealer, Jardine Motors, which involved polling 1,000 UK workers in other industries about what they wanted from their career and perceptions on the auto industry along with asking 527 employees of the Jardine Motor Group (both genders). Overall, the research showed that only 18% of those outside the industry would consider work there but it also revealed the extent of the perceived gender issues.
The research found that online 15% of women outside of the industry were willing to consider a job in the automotive retail sector, but interestingly 85% of women inside the industry would recommend it to a friend. It seems that the environment is a deterrent with just 5% seeing the car industry as somewhere that is warm and friendly, which is thought to result from people’s experience as a customer when buying a car. Again, the picture inside the industry is different with 45% of women believing that there is a really friendly environment.
In addition to the environment, another area that the research highlighted was the perceived lack of job availability and progression opportunities. 22% of women stated that it wouldn’t occur to them that there would be jobs available with only 2% outside the industry perceiving there to be plenty of opportunities. For women working in the industry, 41% can see a clear progression in their career.
It is clearly an issue that the industry is facing with some hugely negative perceptions about the industry, which in some cases seem to not be true. CEO at Jardin Motors Group, Neil Williamson, commented on the findings:
“The perception of our industry is completely different to what I’m hearing and seeing when I visit our dealerships across the country. There are a lot of positives about working in the industry, but we’re serious about change and this research gives us the insight to push in the right direction, with the right changes to continue to improve our teams for customers”.
It is clear that the auto industry needs to take action now to become more appealing to female jobseekers and to address any gender imbalances that there are along with the perceptions of the industry. This is an industry that is growing, but this could lead to a serious issue if the industry fails to attract workers.