CEO Update

People are the key to our success

10 March 2022 #CEO Update

International Women’s Day this week gave cause to celebrate the achievements of women across the world, but also to focus on what more needs to be done to “break the bias”. SMMT hosted a networking reception where guests reflected on their own career challenges and how things have improved over the years. Progress is evident, with greater visibility of women in senior positions, but the pace of change is slow and barriers remain.

Given the scale and pace of technological change in this sector, a rich diversity of skills, perspectives and experience is essential if we are to be successful and meet the expectations of customers and broader society. Indeed, the automotive industry should be reflective of both the communities from which it recruits and the societies into which it sells.

Companies have in place various initiatives to address inequalities and attract new talent in all areas of businesses, from design and engineering through to production, marketing and boardrooms. There is still a huge amount of work to be done, however, with the industry’s future prosperity hinging on our ability to attract and develop the best and brightest people, whatever their background, gender, ethnicity, ability or sexuality, we must ensure inclusive working environments that allow individuals to be their true selves.

The crisis in Ukraine, meanwhile, deepens with appalling humanitarian consequences. In terms of the business situation, there is still much uncertainty both in operational terms and in gauging the scope and application of sanctions. SMMT hosted a member webinar this week, bringing in expert speakers and you can find out the latest intelligence and information via the dedicated hub on our website here. UK vehicle makers and suppliers are highly adaptable, but the immediate future is certainly unclear and we are working with government to help understand what the long-term impacts of the crisis may be and how to address them.

Finally, it is now less than two weeks until SMMT Electrified takes place at the QE2 Centre in Westminster. This will be our first, unrestricted face-to-face conference since the pandemic began and interest in attending is proving as strong as the speaker lineup.

We look forward to hearing from a range of speakers including Trudy Harrison MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, Dr. Thomas Becker, Vice President Sustainability and Mobility Strategy, BMW Group, Dr Andy Palmer CMG, EVC and Chief Executive, Switch and Hui Zhang, Vice President, NIO Europe, plus a host of other senior leaders from across the industry and beyond.

Click here for more information and I look forward to seeing many of you there in person on Wednesday 23 March.

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