October 30, 2014

Equal opportunities in the motor trade – better for everyone

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We thankfully now live in age where we are more equal than we have ever been and although we have an awfully long way to go in many ways, we have to acknowledge the progress being made on things like rights at work, equal pay between men and women and your sexual orientation or religion not precluding you from similar opportunities. Perhaps this has nothing whatsoever to do with cars but I have seen some real improvements in the amount of women in jobs in the motor trade but even more importantly women are starting to occupy positions of influence and power as well.

Having 2 daughters of my own and wanting to encourage them in whatever they end up choosing as a career path, there was no way a few years back I would have pointed them in the direction of the motor trade because the only place we ever seemed to see women was behind a reception desk, in an admin office or being a showroom host.

Today however we see women sales execs and managers, technicians general managers, business managers and even working in commercial vehicle leasing all the way up to the odd director and CEO, which is fantastic and proves that there are opportunities for more women in the trade and at the same time it empowers more women to buy cars and interact with car showrooms without the need to bring the male friend/relative to ensure the atmosphere isn’t too intimidating or that they won’t be ripped off or sold something they don’t need.

I would like to think that over the next few years women will really see working within the motor trade as a genuine career choice with prospects of improvement and that in turn will hopefully rid the industry once and for all of the perception of the untrustworthy spiv that’s just out for himself.

As we see the massive investment being made in the improvement of car showrooms it is clear that car manufacturers and their dealer brand partners have a shared belief in putting customers first and although dealing with such emotive and potentially expensive products like cars means that expectations are not always met, by having a diverse team of employees who have the common goal of continuous improvement the industry will be in good shape for years to come.


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Comments

  1. If the motor industry REALLY REALLY wants to get service levels right for female customers, we need to feel welcome and better understood in more dealerships and garages. This includes website content as well as phone, email and face to face encounters. Your comment about the ‘odd female Director’ is very telling. There should be more Female Executive Directors in manufacturers, top dealerships and garage groups to influence blokey Boards, to create a female friendly employer culture leading to more female staff and a more female friendly external business image as a consequence. No more is it just women who will be taking time off after a child is born. This will hopefully change perceptions about the role business women can play in future. This is a business case – Lord Davies illustrated the bottom line reasons why those with women in senior/Board positions outperformed those without. It would be good to see which big businesses in the motor industry have any female Executive Board Directors at all. ‘Not a lot’ to coin Paul Daniel… Speaking personally, I can FEEL the difference in a genuinely female friendly business where the right (sunny, positive, bright, caring, warm, funny, customer oriented, hard-working, informed and intelligent) women are involved in customer service initiatives.