Tony Graham
| 03/08/2017

Bridging the Gap for Women in Automotive

Each year, International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It’s no secret that women are generally underrepresented in the automotive industry, but it’s important to highlight the contributions that women are making – and the progress that we’re seeing.

Catalyst: Catalyst Quick Take: Women in the Automotive Industry. New York

While women make up half of the labor force, only about one-quarter of the automotive workforce is made up of women. This isn’t a problem unique to the United States, where 21.2 percent of auto dealers are women. In Canada, 21.5 percent of auto dealers are women and in the EU, only 16 percent of women are in the wholesale/retail trade and repair of motor vehicles.

Contradictory to what the employment rate communicates about women’s influence on the industry, women are major drivers in the success of the industry and wield great influence. Women are by far the largest emerging market as their economic power is continuing to grow. In automotive specifically, women hold more driver’s licenses than men and influence 85 percent of car buying decisions.

The gap between women’s influence and buying power and their involvement in the industry itself poses a problem. If women are the primary purchasers or the product, why aren’t they designing and building it? In the U.S., only 26.7 percent of manufacturing jobs in the automotive space are held by women. This disparity leaves many wondering how to close the gap.

We’re working diligently to eliminate barriers and empower women both in the car-buying experience and in the workforce. Our dedication to recruiting and retaining women has resulted in a higher percentage of female employees than the industry average: 33 percent compared to the industry average of 25 percent. We’ve been honored to sponsor many great organizations that empower women in the industry; organizations like ChickTech, General Motors’ Women’s Retail Network and Women in Automotive.

And it doesn't stop with us.

Each person has the ability to advocate for and support women in the industry. Gender-diverse organizations are 15 percent more likely to outperform their non-diverse counterparts. Supporting women in business is not just the right thing to do — it’s also the best business decision. Corporations, dealerships and individuals all can make an impact by seeking to hire and promote women by providing adequate resources, training and mentorship.

We recognize that the industry has a long way to go, but we are dedicated to empowering women in the industry and creating more opportunities for women to thrive — both in our own organization and in the industry as a whole. We hope you are too.

Learn more about how to support women in the automotive industry and our Women’s Business Resource Group, EMPOWER.

Tony Graham
Tony Graham

As Chief Customer Experience Officer, Tony is responsible for strengthening the connection between CDK Global and our customers. Tony acts as the voice of the customer to both our consumer-facing and dealer-facing products. In addition to this role, he also serves as Vice President, Regional General Manager Central Region, DASH and Minority Dealer Business and is a member of the CDK Corporate Responsibility Council.