IMI advocates greater gender diversity

The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) has found the automotive sector is currently running on a 10:2 ratio of males to females in the workplace, highlighting the gender differences across all roles.

It is calling on businesses right across the sector to stamp out any bias towards men by addressing the gender-stereotypes within their workplace, and the professional body believes this will actually give firms a competitive advantage.

Research by the IMI has found women are more likely to make bigger financial decisions, including purchasing a car or home, however they are significantly underrepresented in the automotive industry with only 19% of the national workforce being female. But the tide might be turning. Data for 2016/17 from ACE shows that the number of women undertaking automotive apprenticeships currently stands at just two per cent.

Lesley Woolley, chief operating officer of the IMI, said, ‘Currently we have very few women working in our industry. However I’m proud to see that there is sea-change in women coming into the sector through apprenticeships. Plus a number of organisations within the sector have evolved to place more strong and empowering females in senior management roles.

‘The IMI is an example of an organisation that has a positive gender diversity at all levels. We currently operate with a 70% female to male split, and we believe it’s important that other businesses in our sector recognise the value of creating a competitive advantage by embracing diversity. More women should look at the retail motor industry as a place where they can create a legacy.’

Karen Hilton, head of sales operations at independent online car-buying site carwow, added, ‘This is a really exciting time for the sector. I’ve been in the industry for 12 years now and I’m delighted to see more women making their mark and most importantly, being encouraged to do so.

‘carwow is a proud member of the ‘30% Club’ which is something we should shout about. It’s so rare that a business that combines two traditionally male-dominated industries, technology and automotive, should be able to lead the charge on making both sectors more accessible for female colleagues.

‘At carwow, we have a female founder and a number of inspiring women who make up our senior management team. This isn’t because they’re women, it’s because they’re great at what they do and that’s what I’m excited to see more of; women, passionate about their industry and empowered to do influential work.’