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Why a diverse workforce is the only way to stay competitive

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Cath Sibbald - VP Human Resources, CDK Global

Why a diverse workforce is the only way to stay competitive


Today’s automotive industry is in the midst of constant, and transformative, change – it is a time of huge tech disruption and rapid digitisation. With so much noise coming from new technological developments, where innovation itself is the key to survival, it’s easy to overlook another key driver of innovation in a big way – workplace diversity.

In fact, a 2018 Deloitte (in partnership with Automotive News) Report found that diversity of thinking in leadership enhances innovation by 20 percent and, at the same time, diverse groups are more adept at spotting risks and reducing their occurrence by 30 percent. Diverse teams bring different perspectives, ideas and thinking to the table, and by harnessing this, businesses are more likely to remain competitive and stand out.

By no means an industry exclusive phenomenon, workplace diversity is set to be a major qualifying factor in the success of businesses worldwide - the automotive industry included.  At CDK Global, we support initiatives that attract new and diverse talent to the industry. This means we take a broader view in the promotion of recruitment opportunities by ensuring that language is gender neutral in job specifications and interviews are based on skills rather than automotive experience. Ultimately, this results in a more balanced and diverse workforce.

Businesses within the automotive industry looking to recruit a diverse workforce must be aware of two main ‘watch outs’ – visible representation and potential bias. If applicants perceive there to be a certain culture within the industry that they might not fit into, they are unlikely to see it as somewhere they can be successful. By actively recruiting and advertising to a diverse group of applicants, ensuring that job roles are written irrespective of gender (and indeed ethnicity or sexual orientation), and that they are being posted and advertised through a range of channels, businesses will depict a clear visible representation of the workplace to potential applicants. Additionally, businesses must ensure their outward facing appearance is in line with their internal values and beliefs. If diversity is one of these values, then this needs to be clear to potential candidates.

To combat unconscious bias in a traditionally perceived male dominated industry it is important to showcase how a fundamental shift is already underway.  There is still a way to go, but the number of women entering the industry is increasing, even if slowly, as the industry has had to rapidly innovate and transform, so has its traditional image.  

However, recruiting for a more diverse workforce is only half the equation. It is crucial we also support the talent currently within our organisations.  Diversity must be integral to the business model of an organisation, not just an addition to meet targets.

One of the best ways to foster a more diverse working culture is by developing a diversity council to keep the topic at the top of leadership agendas, as well as a communications plan detailing how diversity is being promoted throughout the business. To nurture existing talent, personalised development paths can be set-out so that individuals, especially future female leaders, can see how their career can progress without having to look elsewhere for opportunities.

As countless studies have shown, that both a balanced workplace and innovation go hand in hand with workplace diversity, then it is time for the automotive industry to realise the potential of a diverse workforce and take a significant step forward. Diversity is a key pillar in supporting the future of the industry, and something we at CDK are embedding throughout our business and culture.



Telephone: 01488 662662

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