Addressing the gender imbalance in the industry

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The motoring industry hires tens of thousands of people in the UK. The industry also makes up roughly 10% of all UK exports, adding several billion to the economy annually. As we can see, it is an incredibly important industry but one which, sadly, is often seen as a predominantly male-centric industry. It is because of this that the motoring industry needs to take steps towards actively attracting and employing more women. Historically, many women have been employed in the industry and attitudes are indeed beginning to change, but more needs to be done to ensure women can feel open and free to take on automotive jobs. We hope to address these issues and help to achieve greater equality in motor trade recruitment.

Historically, women have provided their expertise in the automotive industry for a long while. During both World Wars, women regularly worked as mechanics and engineers, as well as driving ambulances and fire engines to provide vital public services. Hundreds of thousands of women worked in the factories and in the armed forces, providing vital services as mechanics and engineers. In fact, during WW2, our very own Queen Elizabeth even trained and served as a mechanic and a truck driver in the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service. Women also worked other jobs in the automotive industry, such as sewing machinists. Sewing machinists for Ford famously went on strike in 1968 which helped to trigger the Equal Pay Act of 1970. However, despite this, figures highlight that females make up just under 0.1% of all mechanics working in the UK.

It should be noted that, in administrative and secretarial roles within the industry, women make up 70% of the roles. While this is a good figure, more women should be given the help, support and training allowing them to take active roles in sectors such as engineering, rather than simply being restricted to desk jobs. Only 4 to 5% of engineering graduates are women.

The tide may be starting to change, however. This year saw the ascension of Mary Barra to become the chief executive of General Motors, joining the likes of Barb Samardzich, COO of Ford Europe. This year has also seen respected automobile creators make steps towards recruiting females specifically. BMW are currently offering four days of work experience at their plants in Oxford, Hams Hall and Swindon to young women aged 15-24. Jaguar Land Rover also unveiled an initiative fairly recently with the ‘Girls in the Know’ program, aimed at 10-14 year old girls to get them interested in the engineering side of the automotive industry. This augments their fairly successful ‘Young Women in the Know’, ‘Engineering Network for Women’ and ‘Women in Engineering Sponsorship Scheme’ programs, which have been aimed at getting females aged 16-18 support with engineering and engineering studies.

Another key initiative being developed is ‘Your Life’, a campaign designed for more young people, especially women, to gain necessary skills in science and maths, helping them get into science and engineering in particular. With these campaigns in place and training opportunities growing for women, the future is looking bright for motor trade recruitment with a much more dynamic workforce hopefully coming into fruition within the next few years. We advertise a wide range of vacancies on our website and have recruitment offices across the length and breadth of the UK. If you are looking for automotive jobs, you can be assured that we will give you the best help and advice to ensure that you secure your new career.