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Women employed in automotive seek more promotion opportunities

Deloitte’s Women in Automotive Industry research was conducted between June and September 2020 and is based on the responses of 110 women working in the automotive industry. Respondents came from organisations across the value chain in the UK, including original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), suppliers, dealers, and finance companies, and their roles ranged from apprentices through to senior leaders.

Key findings:

  • 68% of women have seen a positive change in the automotive industry’s attitude towards women employees in the last five years; but
  • Half of women feel unprepared to navigate the future of the industry, and this is particularly prevalent in traditional back office functions;
  • 40% would choose a different industry if they could go back; and 50% 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;
  • 90% of women feel they are under-represented in leadership positions, with 42% believing an industry bias towards men still exists for leadership positions, driven by organisational cultural norms; and
  • 57% 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 ten 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.

“Likewise, we know that a lack of promotional opportunities, poor work-life balance and organisational cultural norms are the top factors that would cause a female employee to leave the automotive industry. 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.”