Fleet News

Career development: Are women steering clear of fleet careers?

THE number of women entering careers in the motor industry remains alarmingly low, with recent figures showing that women make up less than 10% of the total workforce.

The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) is currently conducting an investigation into ‘occupational segregation’ looking at industries where there is an uneven gender balance between employees and the motor industry will no doubt be high on their list. But the fact remains that there is a shortage of female contenders for the majority of roles being advertised.

This spurred one group to call on the motor industry to address the issue and to try and even the balance.

Vehicle Remarketing Solutions (VRS) advertised for a senior sales position last year. Despite receiving more than 50 applications, not one was from a woman.

Jacqui Le Put, sales and marketing director at VRS said: ‘We always seek to recruit the best people, whatever their gender. I believe the motor industry is failing to recruit and progress women in the workforce and is suffering as a result.

‘Any industry needs a healthy balance of men and women, which creates a stronger working environment because each sex brings its own set of skills. The right man for the job may not always be a man and currently you don’t have that choice in this industry.’

VRS operates an equal opportunities policy and women currently make up 42% of the company’s workforce, including senior management positions.

Helen Challinor, marketing manager at VRS, added: ‘We have employed an equal number of males and females since the position was advertised last year but we have found it difficult to target females. It is a male-orientated industry. Engineering and manufacturing are not industries women usually go for.’

Fact file

  • Women buyers take up a 43% share of the new car market in Britain, with estimates of their percentage of influence on total car purchases as high as 80% when joint family purchases are taken into account
  • Women account for only 14% of those studying engineering at university. This has an impact upon women going into the manufacturing side of the motoring sector
  • Research commissioned by General Motors says there will be a 40% increase in female new car buyers over the next 15 years in Western Europe
  • The motor industry recognises a need to boost the number of female employees, which currently stands at 9.6%
  • The spread of female employees varies from 4% in manufacturing operations through to 35% in retail and distribution companies. This is significantly lower than the UK economy as a whole as female employees make up 45% of the UK workforce

    Career development: Libra ladies break into male market

    ONE company which is dispelling the myth that the motor industry is a male-dominated industry is Libra.

    The acronym Libra aptly stands for Ladies Independent Breakdown Recovery Association and is basically an all-female roadside recovery company.

    All the mechanics are females operating on a 24-hour seven-days-a-week basis, going out to women who would prefer a female mechanic.

    A spokeswoman for the group said: ‘We have spent months asking women of all ages and backgrounds what they want from a motoring organisation.

    ‘Every time, we have listened to the same answer – security.

    ‘We will attend on every type of road from motorways to country roads, home addresses to multi-storey car parks. Our mechanic will try to get the vehicle started.

    ‘However if this is not possible, the driver, vehicle and passengers will be transported to a home address or to another destination.’

  • Visit www.librarescue.co.uk for more information.
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