Throughout the past decade, women have undoubtedly begun to prove they can hold top leadership positions in the automotive industry. Dealership staff has started to include more females, which is often a very wise business decision seeing as women can bring different perspectives on things and can also draw in more female customers. Along with this change, however, comes the need to build a dealership culture that attracts and retains female employees.
Surveys from the past few years have shown that many people are not interested in long, set hours at work and would rather have a schedule that allows for some sort of flexibility. This is especially true for women in automotive, as many have families to take care of. Working at a dealership has historically meant working from early morning to late at night almost every day, but loosening up schedules a little so that women can attend their kids’ school and extracurricular events may be a great way to attract and retain female employees.
Offer and Provide Continuous Training
Many women, especially those who are new to the auto industry, may desire more knowledge and training, so dealerships that offer and provide continuous trainings may be more attractive to female employees. This can include things like on-site exposure to different departments, working with trade schools to create scholarships for females, or sending female employees to conferences such as Women In Automotive events. Overall, showing an interest in all of your employees’ future career success can be an attractive trait for job seekers.
Outline a Career Path
Many women steer clear of dealership jobs because they cannot envision any sort of a future there, so dealers should be able to highlight advancement opportunities for them. Many women want to move “up” in the dealership but feel they do not have any way to do so. By demonstrating that there are opportunities for promotions within various sectors, women may be more apt to apply for a dealership job, accept a job offer, and stay with the dealership for many years. According to McKinsey’s Women in the Workplace report:
“To make meaningful and sustainable progress toward gender equality, companies should consider focusing on two broad goals: getting more women into leadership and retaining the women leaders they already have. That will require pushing beyond common practices. Companies with better representation of women, especially women of color, are going further.”
While the situation is slowly improving, female employees in all industries are still often scared to speak up.
Many dealerships have procedures that don’t work well or could work better, and welcoming input from women on the matters can be very beneficial, as they may know different ways of doing things that could lead to more success. Female employees should be encouraged to share their ideas both openly and in private.
Listen to Female Employees
Similarly, dealership management teams should always actually listen to the input they are given. Many females working in the auto industry previously held jobs in other industries where they may have picked up on useful skills in the realms of sales, communication, marketing, and so on. Truly listening to female employees and being able to change current processes and procedures to make dealerships run smoother can highly influence women to stay in the industry.
Advertise it in Job Postings
As mentioned, the auto industry has historically been made up of men and many people still have the assumption that women are not suited to work in it. This is far from the truth, of course, so dealers should make it known to the public that women are welcome in their dealerships. Job listings should make it clear that a woman’s job history – regardless what industry it was in – can be very relevant in a dealership environment. Some management teams even decide to put something like “women-friendly” in their job ads, which may make females more inclined to apply. Of course, ads should include that the dealer is an equal opportunity employer.
Promote it Online
Another tactic that can be useful to some dealers is promoting their female employees on their websites and social media profiles. Statistically, women tend to utilize social media more than men, so there is a chance that featuring women on a social media page can draw in more female followers. Outlining female employees’ job duties, experience, skills, and successes may encourage female followers to at least look into entering into the auto industry. Ultimately, figuring out how to advertise that women belong in the industry can help attract female employees.