Although most companies in the automotive industry are interested in hiring females, they cannot retain them. Obstacles include women not applying for these positions, women wanting more base salary (especially millennials), and long hours creating child care issues. Additionally, there's a lack of a clear career path, HR benefits aren't competitive with other industries, and there's a risk of sexual harassment lawsuits.
"Sexual harassment is prevalent in the automotive industry, and we should all be armed with how to respond," DeVere stated. "We will only move forward together, along with the men who support us. We need everyone to be advocates for the industry and invite talented women to apply for jobs because they will bring new energy to your organization."
Culture is important to women as well - women tend to prefer teamwork, they like seeing other women in leadership roles, and they value mentorship programs. It is beneficial for companies to hire a mix of genders, races and cultures, and companies that hire women have proven to be more profitable, DeVere insisted.
DeVere recommended using keywords in job descriptions to attract women from female-dominated fields, to employ a scripted and professional interview, and to onboard in days rather than weeks. It's helpful to attach a new hire to multiple department heads to help a woman feel like she's part of the organization, and providing ongoing training and certifications will create loyalty as she'll feel the company is investing in her. It's also vital that companies promote top-performing women within the organization.
Addressing the question of what is a female-friendly culture, DeVere shared the following:
* Be intentional in hiring and recruiting women.
* Maintain a culture women can thrive in.
* Create flexibility to increase work/life balance.
* Women must be shown a clear career path.
* Strive to promote women. Women need other women as role models and mentors.
DeVere advised companies to include more women in leadership roles, encourage senior leaders to become sponsors, and create a culture of diversity and inclusion. Men should become members/sponsors, make networking opportunities more inclusive, and check for bias in their decision-making. DeVere urged women to "seek mentors and sponsors, expand your networking, take charge of your career, and set your own priorities. Women need to help one another and reach out to each other."