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Women in Automotive: Testosterone and Empathy

June 5, 2018 3 Comments


The Automotive Industry is predominantly male, but Jay Rao Professor of Strategy and Innovation at Babson College, believes the car industry would improve in nearly every way if more women were hired, “It is a completely testosterone driven industry we need way more estrogen in your industry.”

With a strong background in the automotive sector, Rao says women are already doing better than men in many areas, so why  not automotive?

“Women today, more than 50% of all undergrad programs are women they are having better GPS’s they are more responsible they are not testosterone driven punching each other up in a dealership.”

He goes on to say women bring something to the table men can’t, and it will make all the difference in the future.

“They are very different leaders, they are more empathetic,they have much greater empathy. Men suck at empathy that’s why customer experience hasn’t changed because men don’t have empathy.”

So why does empathy in a dealership matter? According to Kacy St. John, Chief Marketing Officer at the Kansas based Brandon Steven Motors, it means everything to the modern car buyer, “Consumers know what they want and they don’t want to be sold. They want someone that is empathetic to their needs to their wants and their values. And I think that’s why women in automotive do succeed.”

The founder of Women In Automotive, and President of Now Digital, Christy Roman, says another way hiring women can up the game of dealerships is helping them sell more cars to the people dealers are trying to reach.

“Employing women would help them reach their demographics better because … 85 percent of major purchases, or really all purchases are influenced by women .”

The United States Department of Labor reports just 21 percent of the entire automotive dealership workforce is women, and only 9 percent of the automotive repair and maintenance workforce is women. Although those numbers have gone up the last few years, Laurie Foster, the Executive Director at the Auxilio Group,  says these numbers are still too low.

“The numbers are growing but it’s really important that we think not for one second we are close to acceptable levels of women let alone normalized levels.”

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  • Rachel says:

    I am confused. Did he mean GPA instead of GPS’s?

    Employees are trained to be a certain way. If you are trained to be empathetic, you’ll be empathetic. If you are trained to be less emotional with your customers, then that is what will happen. As a woman in the automotive industry, I want to be treated as an equal. Employing me for the reason of being “more empathetic” seems stereotypical. Base your employment needs on performance/skill, not what you think a gender is going to provide.

  • Chris K says:

    I’ll say it first: (Men) Sales Managers are intimidated by women salespeople because they feel they could take their jobs. I’d love to see more women salespeople in my place, there are none, yet the #1 performer here is a woman, and she is our BDC Manager and she is awesome.

  • RJ says:

    Sherri… GREAT Info in an EXCELLENT Presentation!!!