Auto Trader: Making diversity and inclusion a business reality 2021 (1)



Press release

Making diversity and inclusion a business reality 2021 (1)

July 13, 2021

COVID-19 Boosts Automotive’s Commitment To Diversity And Inclusion, But Industry Still Has A Long Way To Go

According to the third edition of Make diversity and inclusion a business reality, published today, Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) is a priority for the majority of companies, but there is still a long way to go to make it a reality in the UK automotive industry. The document, produced in partnership by Auto Trader and executive search specialists Ennis & Co., tracks the D&I behaviors and commitments of many of the UK’s leading retailers and automakers.

Introducing brand new research, it reveals that the perceived value of D&I among automotive companies is accelerating. 80% of 40 organizations surveyed across the auto industry (representing retailers, manufacturers, suppliers and trade bodies) in April 2021 said it was “very important” to their goals. This marks an increase from 78% recorded in 2019 and 75% in 2018.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the perception within the industry is that progress has been made in the past 12 months: 50% believed their company had made “very good” or “excellent” progress, which is significantly up from 28%. recorded in 2019. In fact, for the majority, the coronavirus reinforced their commitment to D&I, with 85% saying it had pushed it higher on the agenda to a higher level.

While research has highlighted some positive fallout from the pandemic, such as companies being forced to change or reassess outdated policies, especially on working methods, they were far outnumbered by the negative effects of the pandemic. pandemic on D&I and the HR function in the broad sense. . As might be expected, the well-being of colleagues was identified as the area most affected by COVID, with a third of companies (33%) choosing it as the main area impacted. This was followed by employee training (30%) and colleague engagement (30%).

Additionally, due to the pandemic, many key initiatives have been put on hold, including employee networks (20%), active recruitment of diverse colleagues (15%), employee training and education (15%). ) and leadership training on managing a diverse workforce (13%).

D&I today

According to this year’s study, most organizations place a strong emphasis on creating an inclusive environment for all employees. However, women / gender are by far the most prevalent diversity strand in the automotive industry, with many groups remaining underserved. When asked to rank the D&I areas of greatest interest to their business, 79% identified women / gender as their main focus, moving significantly to other priority areas: race / ethnicity (11%), neurodiversity (5%) LGBT + (3%) and age (3%).

Lynda Ennis, Founder of Ennis & Co., commented: “Far from being confused by the impact of the past 18 months, D&I has clearly never been more important in the minds of business leaders, and it’s heartwarming to see. What I’d like to see more of, however, as we continue the D&I journey, is a genuine commitment to initiatives focused on enhancing inclusiveness. I still think we still have a ways to go to ensure that D&I doesn’t just focus on one vertical, like genre, and that true inclusion is about removing “labels”. If you compromise as a company to meet quotas – you’ll never reach your full talent potential and, ultimately, if you don’t focus on inclusivity – you’ll never get the best. people.

Interestingly, 34 out of 40 organizations surveyed said they have flexible working policies. However, while it is possible that 85% actually offer it, some companies have potentially confused colleagues working from home with flexible working and therefore assume that all colleagues receive the associated benefits. McKinsey Research[1]has shown that despite the best efforts of employers, employees – especially diverse employees and working parents – are still grappling with the myriad of challenges posed by the pandemic.

The Auto Trader and Ennis & Co. study also found particularly low adoption of some key D&I initiatives: only 60% monitor and report on the diversity of their colleagues, and only 50% actively recruit diverse employees ( through awareness programs, internships or scholarships, etc.). Moreover, barely half (52%) have a manager or D&I sponsor at the hierarchical level, and almost two-thirds (61%) have no commitment or articulated D&I plan.

Commenting on the findings, Auto Trader Group Sales Director Rebecca Clark, mentionned: ‘The role of D&I and the wider HR function has been essential in helping companies successfully meet the challenges of the pandemic, and I am delighted that the commitment to D&I remains strong. However, as the research points out, there is still a long way to go to make this a reality in the UK automobile; representation remains limited, with minority groups potentially underserved, while many grassroots D&I initiatives are either on hold or non-existent. As an industry, we need to galvanize the positive sentiment evident in this report, and push it towards a commitment to action, rather than just words. ‘

The report includes commentary and best practice advice from a range of senior industry executives, including Daksh Gupta (CEO, Marshall Motor Group), Andrew Humberstone (Vice President and General Manager, Nissan Motors GB), Alex Smith (Managing Director, Volkswagen Group UK), Mandeep Dhatt (Executive Director Human Resources, McLaren Automotive), Dr Astrid Fontaine (Board Member for People, Digitization and IT, at Bentley Motors), Alison Fisher (Director of Human Resources, Cox Automotive International); and Penny Weatherup (HR Director, Volkswagen Group UK), who joined around 100 HR Directors, Managing Directors and CEOs for a half-day digital seminar in May, hosted by Auto Trader and Ennis & Co.

To download a free copy of the report, please visit:


[1]McKinsey & Company, November 2020: Miscellaneous employees most in difficulty during COVID-19


Auto Trader Group plc published this content on July 13, 2021 and is solely responsible for the information it contains. Distributed by Public, unedited and unmodified, on July 13, 2021 09:18:09 AM UTC.



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