The automotive industry has long been a predominantly male-centric field, but that trend is slowly giving way to a rise in female employees. It isn’t just in the salesperson end, either. Women are influencing creation, sales, and even taking up jobs throughout the repair side of the field as well.
Change Is Coming
Technicians are in high demand, women drivers now outnumber men, and the automotive industry is putting a strong emphasis on attracting women to the field. Carmakers, such as General Motors who became the first major company to have a female chief executive, are actively working to recruit female employees.
So, where is all this change coming from? The answer lies in both marketing and the realization that women interested in the trade can be just as vital to a company as men.
A recent study found that 80% of all car-buying decisions involve women, which has piqued the interest of the entire industry. With women so actively involved in sales, it only makes sense to create and market a product they will want to buy. Who better to get inside the mind of a woman than women themselves?
Add the marketing strategy to vital communication skills, problem-solving abilities, and a high level of attention to detail commonly found in the feminine mind, and you have the makings of a more powerful automotive industry than ever before. Despite the efforts of top companies and organizations, however, change is still slow.
While the number of women entering the workforce is steadily increasing, any given company’s ability to retain them is lacking. Pick any STEM field (science, technology, engineering, and math) or blue-collar job and you’ll find that 53% of women with a degree leave the field before long. Why?
These industries still have a “men’s club” kind of mentality in their company culture. Women can easily be made to feel like outsiders, lack same-sex role models in higher positions, and still experience discrimination.
The idea that women know nothing about cars and lack the muscle necessary to work on them is still present, but the stage is set for the tables to turn in the future with cars becoming more technological than mechanical. While it might be ways off, mechanics will need to know more about wiring than nuts and bolts as time goes on.
As for the general stigma surrounding females and automotive mechanics, well, that’s something that needs to change in American culture before it goes away. On the bright side, despite negative stereotypes women are steadily taking over ownership of auto sales businesses. This change alone should make a positive impact on mindsets in the industry.
What Can Businesses Do?
While changing the public’s opinion on this issue is outside the scope of the auto industry, is there anything business can do to change their company culture? Redefining values and behaviors, creating a better system of accountability for wrong actions, and better defining the gaps between desired and actual behavior is a start.
However, any given company cannot force their employees to change or monitor their behavior 24/7, which makes changing their culture difficult.Even the strictest of consequences and monthly team meetings cannot change some individual’s ideas and poor choices.
Hopefully, access to new, affordable technology will help a company to get a better grasp on discrimination in the workplace. We’ve already seen the implementation of great software for timesheet management at www.clockspot.com, who knows what might come next.
Until then, companies can do their part to eliminate the still existent wage gap and hire women in all positions available, including higher management, who can act as role models for new entrants to the field.