Applauding the launch of the Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP) new training course designed to give women working in the fleet industry the confidence to have their voices heard, Venson Automotive Solutions calls for more to be done at grassroots to attract female talent into the sector. The appeal follows a new survey by Venson of women that revealed 50% have never considered working in the motor industry and a third had never had a career in the sector presented as an option to them by their family, school or college.
With female representation in the automotive sector hovering at just 19% compared to 51% in non-automotive industries, it’s clear that more needs to be done at a societal level and across primary and tertiary education to encourage women into the sector, including fleet.
Alison Bell, Operations Director for Venson, comments, “The automotive sector faces its biggest skills challenge of the last two decades. The good news is that 34% of women aged between 18 and 24 that we surveyed said they would consider a career in the automotive sector. However, nearly 75% of all women said that they believe they wouldn’t have the technical abilities or qualifications needed for many of the jobs on offer. By placing automotive careers opportunities on the radar for all school and college pupils, regardless of gender, and opening the door to obtain the necessary qualifications could address this misconception in the future.
“The Institute of the Motor Industry reports that filling traditional posts, including vehicle technicians, tyre, exhaust and windscreen fitters is still a significant challenge, it is easy to see the knock-on effect on the fleet industry unless initiatives are taken to address the gender imbalance.”
In addition to revealing 50% of women overall have not considered a career in automotive sector, Venson’s research reveals that 26% of women would or have considered a career, while 24% remained uncertain. The most popular career choice for those considering the industry is to become a car designer (33%). This is followed by automotive application software engineer – responsible for the design and development of software systems for in-car technology (26%) – and vehicle technician – specialising in the computerised aspects of vehicle repair (24%).
Even with the positive response from the 18- to 24-year-olds it is clear that more needs to be done to capture the younger age group at school and college level when they are thinking of their career options and choosing their exam subjects. Continues Alison Bell, “Despite women reporting a lack of encouragement at school level and beyond, it’s reassuring to see from our research that a quarter of women still aspire to a career in the automotive industry. We can only imagine the upward trajectory if more was done to promote a career with cars to girls, from early years.
“We all need to play our part in promoting our chosen automotive and fleet sector career paths to help demonstrate that they are attainable to all and that anyone can work in what is one of the world’s most exciting industries.”