Women influence almost 80 percent of car buying decisions, but only 16 percent make it to managerial positions in the automotive industry, according to a report on gender diversity by Ernst & Young.
In a survey of 350 business leaders from 51 countries around the world, which included 50 from the auto sector, 56 percent of leaders acknowledge women as a critical source of underutilized talent. For example: Among the 50 largest publicly held auto company suppliers in North America, less than 10 percent of business leaders are women.
Meanwhile, 90 percent of auto companies believe they need to change their approach to attracting, retaining and promoting talent dramatically, while only about 22 percent of auto companies surveyed have structured programs to identify and develop women's careers.
The report's sole focus on the automotive industry stems from the findings that the most insufficient diversity of thought and experience exists in this sector at 38 percent, followed by oil and gas at 44 percent and power & utilities at 52 percent.
"The speed of disruption in automotive is accelerating at a historic pace," Randall Miller, EY's Global Automotive and Transportation Sector leader said in a press statement. "Having the right talent in place to support this disruption is mission critical. With a billion women joining the economy for the first time by 2020, advancing gender diversity can be a major competitive advantage to auto industry players."
The advantage is seen in tackling ongoing volatility in the auto industry. Digitization, regulations, evolving customer needs and new competitors are some of the disruptive trends impacting the business landscape in the automotive industry. This industry lacks diversity and hence business leaders surveyed by EY believe that diversity of thought and experience will be key to navigate the challenge of disruption.