Closing the Gender Gap in Retail Automotive

By 2025, the automotive sector is expected to be in the midst of a global shortage of 2.3 million workers. Just five years later in 2030, this number is expected to rise to 4.3 million — and a part of this is due to the lack of women in this industry.

Consider this: 47% of the total workforce is made up of women, but only 27% of the automotive workforce are women. Taking this a step further, only 3.6% of auto mechanics are women. 

The important question to ask is why such a large portion of the general workforce avoids working in this sector. Women at the Wheel, a study by Deloitte, painted a clear picture in response. Respondents indicated that they viewed the industry as unfavorable (65%), believed it lacked work-life balance (59%), and didn’t provide opportunities for career advancement (39%). 

These might seem like some pretty dismal stats, but there’s good news: there are actions you can take to bridge the gender gap at your dealership. This process will involve reworking your recruiting and hiring processes but the payout — creating a diverse workforce that fills your staffing needs — will be well worth it.  

Steps to close the gender gap at your dealership

Closing the gender gap at your dealership won’t be as easy as adjusting one simple thing; this is an iterative process, meaning that the cumulative results will make the hard work worth it. We’ve broken down the process into three actionable steps that you can take to start building a more diverse workforce at your dealership.

Design jobs women actually want

In this day and age, if you want to hire the best talent on the job market, you need to reframe how you and candidates think about your open roles. Your vacancies are your products, so you need to make your job descriptions as compelling as your advertisements are. In order to curate these offerings to women, you need to know what they really want from a job. According to SHRM, women want the following from the workplace:

  • Personal and family needs being met
  • Career advancement opportunities
  • Good compensation and benefits
  • Mental health support
  • Compassionate leaders who empathize with me beyond work
  • Better child care

That’s quite a long list, isn’t it? Don’t be overwhelmed by it; if anything, these requests can be broken down into four primary categories, including flexibility, opportunities for career growth, a culture that empowers women, and mental health support. When you look at these wants through this lens, it suddenly becomes much more manageable to offer these to potential female workers. Consider implementing some of the following aspects into both your people policies and job descriptions to become more appealing to women on the job market.


When you think about flexibility these days, you probably think about remote work (if you’re like the majority of the population, that is). It might seem like you can’t realistically accommodate that preference at your dealership and you really can’t with most roles — but with sales, you can. You could offer hybrid work options for sales representatives, especially if they’re focusing on online sales. 

Beyond remote work, however, you could offer non-traditional hours, which might appeal more to women who carry most, if not all, of the dometic weight of their household — or you could offer a “choose your own schedule,” where employees are empowered to pick the shifts that work best for their lifestyle. This doesn’t mean that they come in at midnight to work on an engine; instead, a full-time employee could choose to start their workday after dropping the kids off at school and ending it before the school day is over while working Saturdays to make a full 40 hours. There are plenty of options here, you just need to get creative with your offerings! 

You could also offer a flexible payment method, such as on-demand pay. This is a payroll method that allows workers to withdraw their current earnings whenever they want, whether that’s at the end of the day or the day before a biweekly pay period. Life doesn’t happen on a schedule and sometimes your workers will need these funds before they’d traditionally be available. It’s important to remember, however, that not all payroll providers offer on-demand pay, so be sure to check with your current provider.

Career growth

Women often feel limited in their ability to grow their careers — but this isn’t restricted to just the automotive industry. This perceived limitation can be especially frustrating, but you can put systems into place that help mitigate these concerns. 

First, consider obstacles that are unique to women. This includes maternity leave (although paternity leave is on the rise), the high price of childcare that leads many to exit the workforce in order to care for small children, taking “too many” sick days to care for a kid who came down with a cold… the list goes on and on. Once you feel that you have a firm grasp on the hurdles that women can face, then you can work on implementing policies that will help women feel that they have the ability to grow their career at your dealership. 

Our suggestions include establishing an open-door policy that allows employees to openly speak with any member of the staff, no matter their seniority or rank at the dealership. We also recommend building an organizational chart, complete with job descriptions, that is available for employees to peruse at their convenience. When employees can see what the next role will require of them, they know what they’ll need to do or work on in order to be promoted. Consider incorporating a mentorship program so that if someone, male or female, expresses interest in a particular role, they have the opportunity to ask questions and receive guidance on what they need to do to reach their goals. 

You could look for ways to provide access to career-specific training programs, as some people may not have the funds or the time to research opportunities for advancement through continued education.  Also: always take the time to recognize and celebrate growth at your dealership!

Empower women through your culture

Your workplace culture is one of the most important aspects of your dealership — does yours currently empower your female employees?

If not, there are plenty of opportunities available to you to foster this atmosphere. Just like a mentorship program is an effective tactic to offer career development, you could also use this program as a way for women to learn from one another and support each other in their careers. Sometimes just having someone who can say, “I’ve been there too,” makes all the difference. You could go a step further by creating resource groups for women employees to access when they’re in need of help, whether it’s for an issue that is on the job or in their personal life. 

You also need to train your hiring team to recognize and be cognizant of unconscious biases, which can ultimately lead to decreased diversity amongst your dealership staff. Unconscious biases are ones that we may not be even aware of, but they can have a significant impact on the types of people you choose to hire at your dealership. Beyond that, you need to be mindful of the top-down impact; how your leadership acts determines what the rest of your workforce sees as appropriate. 

If you want to make lasting change, you need to be the change first — and this can often start with the language you choose to use. Avoid gendered language, or words or phrases that are commonly understood as a bias towards a particular gender/sex.

Support your employee’s mental health

Ever since the pandemic, mental health has been a hot button topic for many in the human resources world — and for good reason! How your mental health is doing impacts every facet of your life, which is why it’s so important to show your employees that you value their mental and emotional well-being. 

You can accomplish this by instilling paid mental health days; after all, if a worker were to come to work when they were having an off day, they’d be much less productive than they would typically be. If they don’t have the opportunity to care for themselves, then this could culminate until their work and mental health is severely negatively impacted. By offering them a day to take to themselves, you’re paying a small price for continued effectiveness and productivity.

You could also offer access to counseling and therapy; this is typically covered by insurance or through an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Be sure to spread awareness about these resources periodically, so that new hires receive the information and current employees are refreshed on what is available to them. You could promote physical well-being too through programs like group workout classes. Finally, your management should also be trained on emotional distress awareness and substance abuse to help employees before these issues snowball.

Reach more women in the job market

Now that you’ve created a job description that is more enticing to women, you need to market it. Reaching more women in the job market begins with your employment branding, which you’ll use to give applicants a glimpse into what life is like at your dealership.

Your employment branding strategy starts by bringing everything together in your career site; this will feature the key benefits of working with you. The suggestions that you implemented from the last section will be used as selling points on this site, to really drive home the value that these policies bring to your employees. You’ll want to make sure that the imagery on this site is gender inclusive — be sure to showcase women working in all of the roles at your dealership. If you want to hire women, you need to show them that they belong there. You can accomplish this by providing testimonials from women at your dealership as well; you can do this on your career site or through social media spotlight posts. If your dealership is involved in any community work, be sure to include that too.

Applicant diversity starts with sourcing diversity. If you want to receive a variety of applicants, you need to use multiple channels to drive candidates. After incorporating inclusive job descriptions, you need to use the following channels to advertise your open roles:

  • LinkedIn
  • In-person career fairs
  • Partnerships with local universities
  • Partnerships with local women’s groups (in-person and on social media)
  • Employee referral programs

Improve the hiring process

Women are more likely than men to take on more childcare and household responsibilities outside of work; they’re also more likely to be stressed and burned out on work. Don’t believe us? In 2020, the Center for Global Development found that women took on 173 more hours of unpaid childcare work than men. 

What does this have to do with your dealership’s hiring process? Everything! You need to make researching and applying for your roles as easy as it is to research and buy a new car online. Your applications need to be mobile and convenient to receive as many submissions as possible. Our recent State of Hiring Report: The Modern Worker found that nearly three-fourths of applicants (73%) have given up on an application because it took too long to complete. Make your application quick and easy; only require a name and contact information — all of the other details can be gathered later in the interview process. 

Speaking of the interview process, yours should ideally be less than three weeks long. If you have multiple in-person interviews, consider where you could cut some of them if possible. You want to make the process as easy as possible for candidates; if you’re asking them to take time off from their current job just for an interview for a job that they may or may not receive, you’re really doing them a disservice. You should also incorporate texting into your candidate communication because 90% of respondents to that survey from earlier indicated that they’d be willing to text with a recruiter if it meant the interview process would move faster. 

Inclusivity at your dealership starts with you

Beyond simply being the right thing to do, hiring women should be a priority for your dealership because this is otherwise a relatively untapped talent source for the automotive industry. If you incorporate just a few of these tactics into your people policies and hiring processes, you’re on the right path to developing an inclusive environment at your dealership. Inclusivity starts with you — and it’s the key to closing the gender gap in the automotive industry.

Do you have the tools you need to make closing the gender gap at your dealership possible? If not, connect with our team to see how much easier hiring can be with Hireology’s all-in-one hiring and HR platform.



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