Why Aren’t There More Women in Automotive?
Last month, I attended the Women in Automotive conference in Orlando, Florida, with a room full of strong, innovative women.
One comment that stuck out to me was from one of the speakers, who claimed the automotive industry has a reputation problem that women have nothing to do with.
At 9 Clouds, we’re trying to help our dealership clients reduce the stigma associated with auto sales with thoughtful, lead-focused inbound automotive marketing — but it is a huge stigma to overcome.
If dealerships would put a concerted effort into hiring and integrating women on their staff, their reputations would improve much faster.
I’m not talking about hiring “token” women so that people see females when they walk in the store.
I’m talking about hiring qualified women in auto management and sales. They’re out there, and they’re looking for opportunities to take agency and be successful.
I’m also not insinuating that men can’t work with women. I’m just saying there is a significant gender imbalance in automotive that needs some thoughtful consideration.
After all, 95% of the 20,000 dealerships in the U.S. are owned and operated by men. It’s time more women step into that space.
Why We Need Women in the Auto Industry
Why should you employ women in the right positions at your dealership?
If my own qualitative comments aren’t convincing, consider these quantitative facts I learned at the Women in Automotive conference.
- Women in the U.S.:
- Buy or influence 83% of all consumer purchases.
- Influence more than 80% of all car purchases.
- Buy 65% of all new cars.
- Buy 45% of all light trucks and SUVs.
- Women in the U.S.:
- 75% of women feel misunderstood by car marketers.
- Since 2012, women hold more driver’s licenses than men.
- 65% of all service work is ordered by women.
- Boards with women on them see:
- A 53% higher return on equity.
- A 42% higher return on sales.
- A 66% higher return on invested capital.
And finally . . .
What to Do about Women at Your Dealership
Are you reading this post and thinking, “But Sarah, I’ve hired women at my dealership, and they don’t fit,” or “Sarah, I’ve hired women at my dealership, and they don’t stay.”
Here’s my question to you in return: did you do an exit interview with these women? If so, what did they cite as their reasons for leaving?
My guess is that one, if not the majority, of those answers had to do with the culture of your dealership. Dealerships have historically been boys’ clubs. If you’re having trouble retaining women at your dealership, do some inward reflection before you write off female hires.
Also, take a look at your benefits. Men and women can have different expectations and needs when it comes to what a job entails. Review your position structure as another way to improve your dealership’s environment for women.
Many dealerships have employment and retention issues. If yours is one of them, try tapping into this eager (and often more loyal) workforce.
During your next dealership strategy discussion, put the topic of your dealership’s culture and benefits on the agenda. How can you make them more attractive to women?
How 9 Clouds Supports Women in Automotive
One reason 9 Clouds works with automotive clients is because, at one point or another, everyone at our Midwest-based agency has been a customer for dealerships like our clients.
We’ve all been in the shoes of the people our clients are trying to reach. There aren’t a lot of other industries or products that everyone at our agency understands so well.
We support gender diversity in the workforce, too. Eight out of 12 of our employees (67%) are women.
But the stereotype of the sleazy car salesman is alive and well. Help improve the reputation of your dealership — and the automotive industry as a whole — by considering how you can help get more women in automotive.
Remember, 80% of car purchases are influenced by women. Make sure your dealership is welcoming women — not only as customers, but also as employees.
Are you interested in improving your marketing efforts for your dealership?