Joining the debate on gender equality, in support of International Women in Engineering Day, the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) has found that only 20% of jobs* in the automotive retail industry are currently occupied by women.

Statistics show that 54% of all apprenticeships starts were women in 2016/17.  However, whilst the motor industry currently offers more than 150 different job roles – only 6% of Engineering apprenticeships** are filled by females. But the sector faces a brighter future with the news that more businesses are increasing their employment of women in more senior positions within the business – demonstrating that females certainly have a role to play in the motor industry.

As the professional body for the sector, the IMI is calling on all leaders across the industry to help raise awareness of the career opportunities available to women. The IMI believes that the stigma associated with what have, to date, been perceived as male-dominated industries – in particular engineering, IT and automotive – is having a profound impact on the career choices of young women.

Lesley Woolley, COO at the IMI, said:

“As a woman in what is perceived to be a male-dominated business, I’m proud to be a COO in a business that takes gender equality very seriously.

Maybe a chance to do some myth busting and set the record straight here – there are over 150 different kinds of job roles in the motor industry and they are open to both men and women!

I and the other women employed at the Institute of the Motor Industry form part of a 60% female majority, representing the changing face of our sector.

“It’s widely accepted these days that a gender balance in the modern workplace delivers better business results, if this balance is also reflected within a senior management team then the culture and performance of a business are better aligned. I have witnessed this at first hand.

“We have a great sector where women can carve a successful career like never before; the exciting opportunities driven by technological advancement increase these career opportunities on an almost exponential basis, so I welcome women thinking about the motor industry to join us to shape its future.”

Sue Pittock, CEO at Apprenticeship Programme Provider – Remit Group, said:

“Nobody should ever feel restricted by their gender, even when working in a male dominated industry such as automotive. Traditionally the sector has been dominated by men, from those coming in as apprentices, to the more senior leaders in car manufacturing firms and training providers. There are notable exceptions of course, such as Sarah Sillars OBE, who sits on our own board and for many years was Chief Executive and then Executive Chair of the IMI.

“At Remit we are currently running our campaign to encourage young women to join the automotive industry. Our state of the art new national training academy in Derby in the heart of the Midlands is now offering all apprentices the chance to train at the highest standard, to break into the automotive industry. You need to be strong willed, determined and tenacious to achieve in any sector and I would encourage more women to be a part of the motor industry.”

Catherine Treanor UK Business Development Manager for Electude, said:

“Being a woman in the motor industry has offered me more opportunities than I could hope to accept. First and foremost it gave me the opportunity to be someone I didn’t know I could be. It said yes, you can when everyone else was saying no.  As we all know, women are a minority in the motor industry, but we are also a necessity. We are facing some exciting and admittedly challenging changes in technology. We need a diverse team to solve these new problems and change this industry for the better. In this ever growing and ever changing industry you will always be needed, valuable and relevant.”