The gender gap in the automotive industry is not a gap at all; it’s a canyon. The Catalyst Knowledge Centre of Information states that women occupy only 26.6% of positions in the automotive manufacturing industry and only 16.9% of executives in vehicle manufacturing. Even more staggering, only 1/5 employees in dealerships are women, yet nearly 65% of car buyers are women.
I noticed an increased participation from automotive brands this year in spreading inspirational messaging on International Women’s Day (IWD). Here are a few examples:
- McLaren shares its female employees experiences working at McLaren and their future career ambitions.
- Hyundai India shows a couple with a woman in the driver seat.
- Mercedes pulled together an inspirational video called ‘Iconic You’ and has branded it ‘She’s Mercedes’; to highlight a few.
International Women’s Day ads aren’t enough!
While it’s good to show our support on IWD, the critical question becomes where is that support every day of the year? Why aren’t we giving more females a seat at the table all year long? And is IWD a clever marketing pitch to make automotive brands appear to support gender equality?
Messaging like the Mercedes’ motivational ‘Iconic You’ video makes you feel good and is a definite message that is moving the industry in the right direction. With that being said, I dislike even to mutter the words ‘I don’t want automotive brands to do that’ just as we are ‘turning a corner’; any awareness brought to the movement of women in automotive is positive. However, awareness and inspiration aren’t enough; the conversation has to move into action. Automotive brands have to ask themselves, what’s next? How are we going to keep this conversation alive outside of this one day each year? Furthermore, what is our commitment to increasing women’s footprint in our dealerships and at the Corporate/OEM level?
The world is ready, why isn’t automotive?
In the last few weeks I have read the following headlines;
‘Canada’s Royal Mounted Police just appointment their first female chief.’
‘Deputy Gina Haspel will take over, becoming the first woman to lead the CIA.’
‘The nation’s currency will feature its first Canadian Women.’
Women around the world are being put into positions of power by leaders ready to take action rather than sit on the hope of an inspirational message, and if the leaders of the world are prepared to take a stance, why is the automotive industry lagging behind?
What is the automotive industry waiting for?
Why wait? The future is coming, whether we like it or not. The purchase share of women around the world will continue to rise, and with the lack of women at the table, decisions will remain to be made by men, delivered by men, for men. Continuing to lead in this manner will proceed to affect dealerships lack of or decrease in loyalty, retention, referrals, and overall all top line dollar. It’s in your best interest to be ready to serve the women who are purchasing your vehicles; every day of the year!
Catch Katie Mares at Digital Dealer 24 for her session “Is Your Consumer Brand Experience Designed for the Decision Maker, the Woman?”, and learn to understand the female consumer’s wants and needs during a car buying experience.
Katie Mares is Founder and CEO of Katie Mares Consulting, knows first-hand the challenges organizations encounter as they design a customer service program. She recognizes that program development is one small step to success; it is the implementation plan and tools that advance an agenda and maintains its momentum. As an operator and facilitator, Katie has experience in building company infrastructure, training tools and customer experience programs. Katie has worked with globally recognized brands such as Honda, Celebrity Cruises, and Canada Post. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Author: Contributing Writer
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