IMI reveals plan to boost senior diversity in automotive sector

Diverse representation is low across the automotive workforce but especially in senior roles

The Institute of the Motor Industry’s (IMI) Diversity Task Force report reveals a dearth of women and people of colour in senior roles compared with other industries. However, senior representation among disabled professionals is greater than outside the automotive industry.

With sector job vacancies at a twenty-year high, greater gender and ethnic minority inclusion are crucial to the social and economic health of the automotive industry, concluded the report, that also said more diverse role models were needed to both increase the number of, and aid the career progression of existing underrepresented groups in the industry.

However, the sector has work to do to drastically increase workforce diversity and inclusion (D&I), which is seen in the low representation numbers below.

Analysis of ONS data for the automotive retail sector found that women hold 19% of senior roles compared to 39% outside. In terms of non-white-British individuals in senior industry roles, representation is worse at 5%, which is far less than the representation of non-white-British individuals in senior roles outside the sector (13%). Regarding the number of disabled professionals in senior roles, the industry has greater representation at 15% than for disabled people in senior roles outside of the industry (12%).

Due to these findings, and the economic need to fill empty roles in the automotive sector as the skills shortage looms, the IMI report sets out five key areas that industry firms should focus on to improve D&I.

  1. Put diversity and inclusion on every board and senior leadership team agenda
  2. Companies need to commit to understanding their staff through better data collection and communication
  3. Commit to asking staff what changes would make a big difference to them
  4. Commit to reviewing everything through a new ‘lens’ of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), looking at policies, procedures, website, customer journey and ways of working. Collaborate with staff to create an inclusive environment
  5. Commit to displaying a diverse senior leadership team or use diverse role models in outreach programmes for schools

IMI President Professor Jim Saker, who co-led the report with IMI Chief Operating Officer, Lesley Woolley, said: “The Task Force set out to understand how the sector can be more attractive to work in for all individuals. We wanted to understand what groups are underrepresented and what the experience is like if you are not part of the majority so that we can bring the issue of diversity and inclusion to the top of the agenda for automotive businesses.

“What has been striking is that the lack of diversity – which unfortunately is already poor in our sector becomes even more pronounced the higher up the pay grade. Without diverse role models, the sector will struggle to attract the talent that we urgently need as we face the biggest skills shortage for more than 20 years.”

To view the full IMI Diversity Task Force report, click here.

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