Gender pay gap reports have been described as “flawed” by an automotive retail sector that is battling to attract a greater proportion of female employees to the sector.
Many retailers left it late to submit their reports to the Government, with about 116 motor retailers to be found on the gov.uk online portal on the April 4 deadline and 126 listed by AM five days later, on April 9.
AM100 groups Arnold Clark, Inchcape, Greenhous and Listers were among the first to submit their data.
Data published by car retailers and collated by AM on pages 44-45 showed that women in the sector were paid, on average, 16% less than men on the median (gap at a wage structure’s mid-point) measure.
The overall UK-wide average, across all sectors was of 9%, with an industry high of 22% to be found in construction.
However, motor retail groups were quick to point out the shortcomings of a mandatory Government fact-finding exercise, with one retail group director telling AM: “The truth is that the data is very much flawed. Given the array of roles it takes into account in the automotive retail space, and the prevalence of male workers in sales and technician roles, which can be very well paid, it just doesn’t give the insight that many might have hoped.”
James Mullins, finance director, Cambria Automobiles, echoed that view: “We completely welcome anything that moves us towards greater equality in the industry.
“However, while we do not differentiate between men and women in any role and the figures don’t reflect that, I think television reports, especially, sensationalised the data’s reflection of the gender pay differences.”
Julia Muir, the founder of the UK Automotive 30% Club, which is working to ensure that 30% of senior roles in their businesses held by women by 2030, said it was important to note, in light of gender pay gap reporting, that “it is extremely unlikely that men and women in the motor trade doing exactly the same job are paid inequitably”.
Mind the gap
Just one in eight businesses across the UK reported a gender pay gap in favour of their female employees, while 8% said they had no pay gap.
Only a handful of motor retailers were able to record a gender-positive pay gap by the median measure in their published data. They were: Car Giant (2.9%), Lookers’ Colebrook and Burgess business (0.5%), Derwent Vehicles (1.5%), Glyn Hopkin (2.6%), Motorpoint (3%) and Stephen James (17%).
Among the AM100 groups who performed worst by the mean measure was the UK’s biggest retail group by turnover, Sytner Group, at 27%.
Other poor performers included: LSH Auto UK (32%), Lancaster Cars (30.6%), Ancaster Group (30.4%), Vindis (30%), and Marriott Motor Group (30%).
Muir was keen to highlight the barriers that still exist within the sector and the need for greater female representation in all roles.
She said: “There is a high degree of segregation within organisations, with women tending to work in lower-paid administrative functions of customer service, HR, finance and marketing whereas the roles predominantly filled by men, such as sales and those needing technical skills, are relatively better paid.
“This is often exacerbated by remuneration packages which include bonuses for operational staff, but which exclude administrative staff.”
While the data gathered by the Government from business could be criticised for an inability to compare remuneration for identical job roles, it does highlight the key area that Muir’s campaign is attempting to influence.
Dividing each businesses’ wage structure into quartiles to identify which sex is best represented in senior roles showed the extent to which motor retail’s top jobs are dominated by men.
On average, AM found that just 12.3% of most business’ top quartile were women with the highest proportion (32.7%) working in the lower-middle quartile.
The gulf in remuneration, albeit coloured by lower numbers of female sales staff, is further evidenced in the data regarding bonus payments.
A total of 77.5% of men in the automotive retail sector receive a bonus, compared with 61.7% of female staff.
Although still relatively close, that number is brought into sharp contrast by the fact that a woman working in automotive retail claims a bonus that is 55% less than male counterparts, according to the median measure.
HR Owen performed worst, with a median percentage gap in bonus payments between men and women of 161.9%, with Chandlers BMW also faring poorly, at 100%.
Bridging the gap
The Government’s gender pay gap reporting demands could “remove barriers” and create greater opportunities for women to rise to the top of the automotive retail sector, according to Andy Goodman, head of share plans and incentives at accountancy and business advisory firm BDO.
He believes publicity surrounding the results have created a moral obligation, as well as highlighting the commercial benefits, of closing or eliminating the gender pay gap.
Goodman told AM: “We expect to see companies implementing policies that will remove barriers and create greater opportunities for women to increase their representation in higher paid roles.”
Goodman said car retailers’ focus must shift to how they will react to their gender pay figures.
In its report on gender pay,Greenhous conceded that it “continues to struggle to recruit women in a traditionally male-dominated industry”, adding that it continued to be “an area of focus for Greenhous Group”.
Inchcape, a member of the UK Automotive 30% Club member, said its data showed that its gender pay gap was “not a pay issue, but down to the types of roles populated by males and females and the structure of the related reward offering”.
Inchcape said: “We will continue to review our reward offering to ensure we become an increasingly inclusive and gender-diverse business.”
Like many, CEM Day sought to highlight its difficulty in recruiting a female workforce and said its pay gap existed as a direct result of a 77% male workforce.
Lookers is among the ranks of the UK Automotive 30% Club, along with Inchcape, Jardine, Lookers, Vertu, Group 1 Automotive, Trust Ford, Vantage, Imperial Commercials and Burrows Motor Group.
An apprenticeship programme targeting a 40% female intake, a year’s full maternity pay and a review of bonus payments are part of Lookers’ commitments.
Chief operating officer Nigel McMinn said: “From having two female general managers a year ago, we now have six. We are actively targeting woman, but they are certainly winning these jobs on merit.
“The industry was stuck in a rut, there was a misconception that testosterone bred success in such a target-driven environment, but our female managers have proved that there are tangible benefits to be had from having women at the top of the business.
“Our female general managers have a more natural management style, which is just what we want. In the past, it was far too autocratic and dictatorial.
“Their success has even affected the male employees we recruit now. We’re actually looking for the traits that our female managers have introduced to the business across the board.”
What motor retailers can do to bridge the gender pay gap
Installing women in more senior posts across the automotive retail sector will directly affect the gender pay gap, according to campaigner Julia Muir, but there is work to be done.
UK Automotive 30% Club members believe the imbalance in pay is driven by an imbalance of women in higher-paying roles and are taking action to fill these roles with talented women.
Muir said: “They have been very supportive of the campaigns that I have led, through financial sponsorships and volunteering, largely to encourage more female school students to consider careers in the industry and so widen the talent pool the sector recruits from.”
Last year, the campaign coordinated a “30:30:30” campaign, which saw 30 of senior automotive executives go into 30 schools and offer 30 top-level executive shadowing opportunities to female students.
Every year, the campaign also organises an Inspiring Automotive Women event, which brings together female automotive executives and female students to discuss careers and pathways in the industry.
Muir said: “It goes without saying that it is unacceptable that the earnings potential of women is far less than men – a fact that has been largely kept invisible until now.
“The automotive industry can lead the way in the UK, and help to ensure that in the near future our daughters will be earning the same as our sons.”
DEBBIE KIRLEW & TOM SHARPE
|Gender pay gap||Percentage of women in each pay quartile||Percentage in receipt of bonus pay||Percentage lower than men's bonus pay|
|Name||Mean (%)||Median (%)||Top||Upper middle||Lower middle||Lower||Men||Women||Mean||Median|
|A W & D Hammond||-26.6||-32||0||0||0||25|
|Baylis Motor Group||-22.2||-17.6||10.2||14.8||38.7||14.8||74.1||71.8||41.8||36.8|
|Barretts of Canterbury||-25||-24||15.4||14.3||40.7||37.4||75.5||61.1||52.4||60.8|
|Blade Motor Group||-7.3||-9.3||14.7||27.9||33.3||33.3||69.3||33.3||67.7||69.2|
|Bramall Quicks Dealerships||-4.9||0||11||25.8||12.3||19.9||96.2||92.1||50||50.7|
|Bristol Street First Investments||-25.4||-25.4||9.1||11.4||41.5||18.8||82.3||66||51||61.5|
|Bristol Street Fourth Investments||-26.9||-32.8||10.3||12.4||29.9||39.8||85.7||68||58.6||77.8|
|Burrows Motor Company||-10||-12||17||17||37||26||76||24||82.6||28.1|
|Cambria Automobiles (South East)||-27.3||-23.2||12||22.4||40.3||30.9||73.2||47.5||68.4||27.3|
|The Car People||-26.7||-30.8||11.8||8.4||29.4||32.8||87.6||41.1||29.6||45.6|
|Cathedral Motor Company||-31.4||-25||11.5||13.3||20||38.5||86.4||63.8||79.4||56.1|
|City West Country||-19.9||-5.7||17.8||30.8||25.4||14.5||41.5||41.4||48.6||84.1|
|Colebrook and Burgess||-7.3||0.5||15||43||32||24||76||55||28||39|
|Cotswold Motor Group||-17.7||-16.2||11||27||38||33||79||68||50.3||48.7|
|Decidebloom (Stoneacre Motor Group)||-5||-1||18||33||32||22||83||55||60||54|
|Drift Bridge Garage||-32.4||-24.3||7.7||21.7||39.6||29.3||38.9||59.8||48.2||35.6|
|Drive Motor Retail||-21.9||-13.5||13.7||22.1||39.5||23.2||74.7||59.1||35.5||18.1|
|Falcon of Hull & Lincolnshire||-23.4||-28.2||10.1||21.5||44.3||30.4||73.5||51.1||46.4||59.1|
|Fish Brothers (Swindon)||-29.2||-17.4||11.8||15.9||46.4||20.6||80.1||53.5||63.2||63.6|
|Foray Motor Group||-20.5||-19.7||10.7||12.7||22.3||29.5||52.4||38||33.7||47.4|
|Frank G Gates||-29.9||-17.9||3.1||17.7||33||25||55.6||45.7||53.9||60.3|
|Glyn Hopkin Group||-71.5||2.6||13||23.8||30.1||4.4||85||64.6||53.9||37.4|
|Go Motors Retailing||-6.6||-12.8||19.1||17.2||12.7||11||42.1||65.8||35.7||35.7|
|Grange Motors (Brentwood)||-33.4||-22||10.6||21.2||36.4||30.8||42||74.8||84.3||53.9|
|Grantham Motor Company||-20||-23.6||12.4||15.7||34.7||30.3||85.5||60.1||25.8||20.5|
|Greenhous Group (Holdings)||-13.1||-9.8||14||12.4||24.9||16.9||68||47||54.6||88.4|
|Helston Garages Group||-16.2||-18.3||5.5||13||33.1||21.2||76.4||70.7||63.6||70.7|
|Howard Garages (Weston)||-24.9||-21.6||7.3||10.4||52.2||25.4||81.7||72.7||82.2||85.2|
|Hughes of Beaconsfield||-4.8||-11.9||11.2||18.8||38.3||7.5||57.3||40.3||5.9||68.5|
|JCT600 South Yorkshire||-22.6||-25||20||47.1||17.1||14.7||71||41||21.8||25|
|John Clark (Holding)||-19.2||-20.7||12||15.8||36||27.7||82||68||53.6||56.3|
|John Grose Group||-29.5||-17.6||10||20||44||19||71.3||49.5||72.4||68.1|
|Lancaster Luxury Vehicles||-27.3||-25.1||9.2||19.5||29.9||41.9||86.6||75.6||59||64.2|
|Lancaster Motor Company||-22||-22.9||11.1||24.5||41.6||28.6||79.7||55.7||55.7||64|
|Lookers Motor Group||-10.4||-2.9||11||27||34||12||79||59||61||55|
|LSH Auto UK||-28||-32||11||21||37||39||79||58||54||86|
|Marriott Motor Group||-34.1||-30||11||12||41||40||78||45||54.4||53.9|
|Marshall Motor Group||-10.1||-5.3||23||32||41||20||69.5||50.3||38.7||70.6|
|Mercedes-Benz Retail Group UK||-27.5||-28||15||17||41||37||88.9||84.4||55.9||28|
|Norton Way Motors||-22.5||-16.3||13.6||21.6||35.2||31.8||82.2||58.1||49.4||66.6|
|Now Motor Retailing||-19.9||-8.7||15.6||26||28.6||26.9||78.5||71.8||42.5||66|
|Park's of Hamilton||-19.1||-12||8.1||22.8||34.1||17||44.9||40.9||59.3||49.8|
|Pendragon Motor Group||-10.3||-2.6||10.5||30.2||29.9||17.1||93.6||89.5||55.2||62.7|
|Pendragon Used Cars||-7||-1.7||10.2||19.5||32.3||10.2||90.2||73||55.8||75.2|
|Pentagon Motor Holdings||-21.1||-21.2||20.6||29.7||45.5||42.2||71.9||65.6||45.3||10.6|
|Perrys East Midlands||-31.3||-23.3||7.4||20.8||36.5||29.2||80.9||81.1||76.5||58|
|Peugeot Citroën Retail UK||-10.6||-15.2||11.7||21.2||31||26.2||97.3||96.7||55.4||81.9|
|Porsche Retail Group||-26.6||-22.9||17.1||10||34.3||48.6||86.7||87.8||55.8||56|
|Renault Retail Group||-26||-21||10||15||28||34||92||78||50||37|
|Specialist Cars (Aberdeen)||-19.2||-20.7||12||15.8||36||27.7||82||68||53.6||56.3|
|Stephen James (Automotive)||-30.2||17||24.5||55||58.2||56.8||83.7||87.4||53.2||69.8|
|Sturgess Motor Group||-44||-15||13||20||34||24||82||77||69||80|
|TC Harrison Group||-31.3||-20.8||13||13||23||31||86||85||76.3||19.2|
|The Dutton-Forshaw Motor Company||-9.1||-10.3||11||26||33||22||78||55||52||43|
|The Trade Centre Wales||-26.9||-14.2||8.4||16.7||20.2||27.4||53.8||50.8||71.4||77.3|
|Think One (Chandlers BMW)||-33.4||-26.2||4.4||10||27.8||11.1||77||49.2||74.2||100|
|Toyota Tsusho Automobile North London||-28.5||-26.4||3||12.1||15.2||13.6||84.7||82.1||51.3||74.1|
|Vantage Motor Group||-20.7||-17.1||14.2||15||34.7||33.3||89||78.3||53.1||42|
|Vospers Motor House||-8.5||-3.8||12.7||19.6||30.3||15.2||67.5||63.1||50.1||46.9|
|W Brindley (Garages)||-12.3||-0.7||29.7||28.6||28.6||29.2||66.3||50||55.4||71.2|
|W J King Group||-17.6||-24||11.8||19.1||33.3||29.8||64.1||26.9||80.5||62.6|
|Wessex Garages Holdings||-36||-32||7||23||26||42||91||74||60||45|
|Williams Motor Co||-28.4||-25.2||9.7||5.2||44.1||28.7||94.1||78.9||56.7||73.4|
|Worcester Car Sales||-22.2||-25.7||10.1||17.1||34.8||21.4||11.8||15.5||41.7||92.2|