The auto sector needs to boost its “cultural competence” to deliver levels of diversity and inclusion that could help solve its skills crisis.
That’s the view of Professor Jim Saker, who sat down with AM news and features editor Tom Sharpe to discuss the findings of the Institute of the Motor Industry’s Diversity Task Force ( IMI) on the latest AM News Show podcast.
Saker called for reform and greater empathy as he revealed stories that Muslim car sales staff were forced to pray in dealership broom cupboards and visually impaired job seekers struggled to find a job. role due to general requests for a clean driver’s license – even when the post doesn’t call him.
In a one-on-one feature of the latest edition of the popular online show, he said: “If we’re trying to improve our industry, if we’re trying to get there, it’s an educational process that we involves better understanding what other people look like and how they see the world.
“If we can do that, we can not only improve the auto industry, but also society by accepting others and we end up with less conflict and less abuse and people who are respected for who they are. and the contribution they can make as an employee within the company.”
Perrys Motor Sales Managing Director Darren Ardron and ICDP Managing Director Steve Young also joined Saker and Sharpe for the recording of the latest AM News Show podcast, which is being recorded in partnership with Armchair Marketing.
Constellation Automotive’s car retail growth, inventory shortages, the value of used cars and the implications of moving to an agency retail model have all been debated.
The show is accessible via Youtube, Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
In her one-on-one diversity-focused interview — which takes place during LGBTQ+ History Month (February 1-28) and just weeks before International Women’s Day (March 8) — Saker said that intransigent personnel policies would not help the sector in its pursuit of greater D&I.
“I don’t think it’s just about politics, I think it has to do with education and training,” he said. “To really achieve a level of cultural competence, what we’re really trying to do is an educational process that forces us to better understand what other people are like and how they see the world.”
Cox Automotive International Human Resources Director Alison Fisher, Auto Trader COO Catherine Faiers and Ennis & Co Founder Lynda Ennis joined Saker in stressing the need for more major D&I in the automotive retail sector for a news article in the latest issue of AM magazine.
They highlight the benefits of broader industry experience and representation and the benefits of attracting a wider range of candidates at a time when employers should expand their network.
“If we can’t break this cycle of birds of a feather coming together, we have a major problem because all we’re doing is recruiting from a very narrow part of our society and that’s not fundamentally not good enough for a modernizing industry, powertrains are changing digitalization,” Saker said.