An all-male environment is the usual sight you’d expect to see when you visit a garage, but times are thankfully changing. Female mechanics are a rare sight. There are half a million people working in the automotive industry but just 2% of them are female. Pink Garage is calling for more women to consider a job in motoring.
Businesses indeed need to take urgent action to bring them in since a recent survey revealed women are six times more likely to expect to be ripped off by garages. It actually happened to me recently. I went for an MOT as I was selling my car and the mechanic said “You know an observation is this, you don’t need it fixed, but you really should try to get it fixed” and then lo-and-behold he gives me a quote for £500. When I spoke to my uncle he said there’s absolutely no way you should pay that kind of money for that kind of thing.
Randeep Reehal is the founder and CEO of the Pink Garage. She has been working in the Motor trade for over 20 years. Randeep is very active in her family business, Courtwood Car Services, based in Uxbridge and she wears many hats in the business to grow it and look after its customers.
During her journey, she has observed that there are few women coming into the motor trade. Why is that? She has explored this extensively and, having the experience; it has allowed her to reach out to encourage more women into the trade.
Randeep Reehal started The Pink Garage Company and she will create and host events with the support of other women in the industry as well as develop services exclusively for women motorists including courses and opportunities for young girls and women to have the opportunity to work in the trade.
What is Pink Garage’s mission?
Pink Garage’s mission is to close the gender and diversity gap in the automotive industry and to create freedom and stability in their choice of career. Their vision is to create a safe environment for women motorists. Providing them with confidence and independence with ownership and their vehicles. Pink Garage is an initiative created by Courtwood Car Services to encourage women into the trade and promote car safety.
A major survey carried out by ‘What Car?’ on behalf of Car Dealer Magazine shows that 70% of car buyers have never bought a car from a woman. Another large automotive survey found that only 12% of automotive sales executives are female and only 6% of sales managers are female so that obviously reinforces the information.
Now there are a multitude of reasons for that. I suppose we ought to also ask the question: “Does it actually matter that so few women work in sales?” And my opinion would be that yes, it matters. It matters because what we know is that teams, where there is a better gender balance, are actually more productive and more effective.
The more you can get a team that is diverse and from different backgrounds, different perspectives, the more it reflects the customer base. So having a team of all men, does not give your team the best ability to know its customer base and to serve it as intuitively as perhaps a team that is more diverse.
The reason for garages to change could be purely for better business results. We know that gender-balanced businesses make more money and we know that gender-balanced businesses of diverse people make even more money. Therefore people that still have an employee profile that is very cookie cutter and exactly the same are missing out on these potential extra profits.
Why is it that companies like that are more successful?
It’s just the complementary contribution that men and women, people of different backgrounds and different ethnicities make. So it’s the combination of those talents that create more than the sum of the parts. Of course, inclusive leaders understand this. They are breaking away from the pack if you like in terms of growth and revenues. Just by making sure that they are picking teams that work well together.
You simply can’t have a team that reflects the customer base that doesn’t have women in it. That’s the bottom line really. We need more women in decision-making positions to enable the companies to tap into these extra profits. We have to start somewhere. So we have to actually have more female sales executives and more female sales managers. This will create a talent pool for the future with even more senior executives to be chosen from.
It’s true that 47% of women have a driving licence, but it’s predicted they’ll soon outnumber men. So women are a driving force to be reckoned with both as customers and employees. There’s a long road ahead though. Only 6% of Engineers are female and there is still much resistance to employing women.
Heading into the future, garages certainly can’t afford to ignore women in the automotive industry or any industry, really. We’re 50% of the population and we make up 50% of the decision-making in any relationship. So I think if garages are ignoring women, they’re ignoring them at their peril.