Closing the gender gap in Australia’s automotive industry

Of all the challenges facing the automotive industry, one of the most crucial is the inclusiveness of the workforce. Automotive has long been a male dominated sector, but if it's to be sustainable and reach its full potential in the future, it's essential that the industry becomes more diverse and embraces female workers. But what will it take to achieve this in Australia?

Only 18.5 per cent of automotive retail workers are female, even though women are responsible for up to 80 per cent of buying decisions.

The gender gap in automotive

Despite the growing influence women have as consumers, the automotive sector is lagging behind in its response. A 2015 report from the National Automobile Dealers Association reveals that while women are responsible for up to 80 per cent of car buying decisions, they make up only 18.5 per cent of automotive retail workers

According to the Global Automotive and Transportation Sector Leader at Ernst and Young (EY), Randall Miller, female employees will be central to the future of automotive. 

"The speed of disruption in automotive is accelerating at a historic pace. Having the right talent in place to support this disruption is mission critical. With a billion women joining the economy for the first time by 2020, advancing gender diversity can be a major competitive advantage to auto industry players," he said.

"Every business leader in the automotive industry is in a position to act now to make gender parity a reality. Companies need to ask what is the one thing they could do differently to accelerate gender parity? To close the gender gap, companies must encourage more senior leaders to become sponsors for potential female leaders, include more women in the leadership pipeline and create a culture of diversity and inclusion."

Inclusiveness is central to the future of automotive.Inclusiveness is central to the future of automotive.

Breaking down barriers to gender diversity

One of the biggest challenges of closing the gender gap in the automotive workforce is the disconnect between perception of diversity and the reality. While a large portion of automotive employers acknowledge the important role women play in the industry, comparatively few are working to correct it and many believe there is more progress than has actually happened. With this in mind, EY advises what employers and female candidates can do to address the problem. 

Employers need to:

  • Establish a culture of diversity in their businesses.
  • Promote women in automotive leadership.
  • Get other leaders involved.

Meanwhile, female automotive workers need to:

  • Set clear career goals and determine a plan to achieve them.
  • Actively look for a mentor to help them progress.
  • Cultivate their professional network.

Ultimately, an inclusive and diverse automotive workforce is one that will be responsive and able to withstand other challenges in the future. Click here to learn more about the positions we have available in automotive dealerships and beyond.