CEO Update

Becoming more diverse, equitable and inclusive

14 October 2022 #CEO Update

Automotive companies, like the rest of industry, are facing challenging labour market conditions. With the UK at almost full employment, despite record numbers of “economically inactive” people, and restrictions on the ability to bring in talent from abroad, companies must ensure they are seen as an attractive place to work to people from all backgrounds and of all talents.

Companies that embrace Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) are best placed to succeed, therefore. By developing, growing and recruiting more effectively, DE&I is also proven to bring benefits to business. A McKinsey report in 2018 found that businesses with a healthy balance of men and women were 15% more likely to outperform their competitors and those with a good mix of ethnic backgrounds 35% more likely to outperform their competitors with improved productivity, creativity and financial results.

Across the automotive industry many businesses are already putting in place processes to make their workforces and, in turn, the sector more diverse and fostering a more inclusive environment. But there is a long way to go before the industry is truly reflective of both the communities from which it recruits and the societies into which it sells.

Improving DE&I helps create an actively engaged environment, where everyone regardless of age, racial background, disability, gender, sexual orientation, religion or belief, pregnancy and maternity, marital status, gender reassignment status, neurodiversity or any other difference, feels welcomed and supported in the workplace.

To help move the dial, SMMT, in partnership with Kenroi Consulting, this week launched its first diversity, equity and inclusion toolkit for automotive businesses. It identifies best practice for the advancement of DE&I within companies, providing nine steps covering everything from establishing an inclusive culture with dignity and respect to recruiting and retaining diverse employees, identifying concerns and collecting, analysing and benchmarking diversity data plus how to define your DE&I strategy. You can download it here.

There was good news this week from the British Standards Institution (BSI) which has launched a new, open-access standard to help ensure electric vehicle charging points are accessible for all users, including disabled people. This is very welcome as all barriers to greater EV uptake need to be removed, especially concerns around charging, and so ensuring public charge points are available to everyone will help make owning an electric vehicle an option for all.

Finally, on Thursday 20 October an evening of fine dining takes place at the exclusive Cavalry and Guards Club, London in support of Mission Motorsport. The event will celebrate a decade of work by the charity and help raise money for wounded, injured and sick service men and women, veterans and their families. The event is open to all and tickets are available here – so I encourage you to attend and support the sterling work Mission Motorsport does helping place ex-service personnel with highly relevant skills into the UK automotive sector.

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