Why Dealers Need Women Working for Them

The 2015 NADA Workforce Study revealed that automotive retail has a colossal problem.

  • Women represented only 8 percent of all active employees in key positions.
  • Females hired by dealerships last year showed no significant change from the previous year, remaining around 20 percent of all new hires.
  • The turnover rate from women in sales was a bewildering 90 percent.

The stats suggest many dealers continue to alienate themselves from significant pools of talent, broaden the gap between their employees and the increasingly diverse customer base, and miss out on bottom line results. Worst of all, perpetuating the poor reputation for diversity and inclusion across the industry makes it more and more difficult to compete within the changing landscape.

In light of these embarrassing statistics, DrivingSales News recently reported exclusive interviews with women working at dealerships. In our conversations, women described the typical dealership as “scary,” “intimidating,” and “aggressive.” Inclusiveness, training, paths for growth, and flexible schedules were strategies shared by the industry leaders to combat the recruitment and retention issue for women at dealerships.

In CDK’s recent special report Women Buy Cars Too, three-fourths of female shoppers say they don’t feel confident in the car-buying arena as compared to less than half of men – yet, women influence 85 percent of purchase decisions and women actually purchase 65 percent of new cars!

So how do we make our female shoppers more confident and comfortable? Our feature stories also revealed that female salespeople were oftentimes handling the customer outside of traditional dealership norms. “Patient,” “listening,” “identifying,” and “approachable” were words used to describe the top-performing ladies’ sales process.

If that isn’t case enough to attract female talent, consider this: according to Gallup research on the benefits of gender diversity, business units with more equal representation of women in a retail setting had 14 percent higher average comparable revenue than less-diverse units. Gallup also found that companies with more diverse teams (including more women) had a 22 percent lower turnover rate and struggled less recruiting talent.

So, how does your dealership rate? Are you poised to unleash potential in women at your dealership and lead the effort to improve the reputation of careers in automotive retail across genders?

We’ve created a quick assessment and a prescription for your store based on our findings. Take the quiz to determine the environment you’re creating for your female staff.

About the Author: Joy Hannemann

Joy HannemannIn her role at Lancaster Investments, Joy Hannemann supports Jon Lancaster’s start-up investments, real estate development, and worldwide speaking engagements. Joy writes for DrivingSales Vendor Ratings and contributes to DrivingSales News on topics including dealership best practices, employee development & engagement, leadership & culture, social amplification, and CX.