Figures show women remain significantly underrepresented in the automotive industry, with only one fifth of all jobs being held by a woman.
According to the most recent study conducted by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, women continue to represent approximately 20 per cent of the automotive segment.
"Now, more than ever, businesses will need to turn their attention to growing their talent pool. COVID-19 has made an existing skills shortage even worse," Dr Imogen Reid, Lead Strategy and Policy Industry Divisions Manager of Women in Automotive/VACC, told CarAdvice.
"Whilst we see a growing awareness of the positive impact gender diversity can have on a business – in terms of culture and bottom line – the metrics are moving too slowly."
Of the women polled in the study, only around 3 per cent were automotive technicians working in the industry.
"The reality is that female participation rates have remained largely the same over the past 20 years. More needs to be done to bring about meaningful change, now, or the industry runs the risk of being left behind," Dr Reid said.
"More needs to be done to promote the many and varied jobs women can work in the automotive industry. From tech, finance, engineering, HR, advocacy – the list is endless, but many often still only think of the trades."
The comments come just days before International Women's Day. Celebrated annually on 8 March, this day provides an opportunity to promote gender parity and shine the spotlight on how far women have progressed in society.
Above: Women & Leadership Australia CEO Suzi Finkelstein.
Beyond automotive, key results from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s 2019-20 reporting data uncover that women account for 50.5 per cent of the workforce, but dominate part-time work, making up 71.5 per cent of the part-time employed population.
What's more, the number of female CEO's currently sits at 18.3 per cent, with their representation on boards at 28.1 per cent.
Chief Executive Officer of Women & Leadership Australia, Suzi Finkelstein isn't startled by these latest findings.
"The numbers are disheartening but definitely not surprising. With the pandemic we are seeing a more committed focus from women enabling themselves to look ahead and step into their next role, leadership, or whatever that may be," Ms Finkelstein told CarAdvice.
"The challenge, as we know, is not for women to be doing this work on their own but what we need are male champions and organisations to identify what the systemic barriers are – we really are so far behind the rest of the world. In some ways it's embarrassing."
On the 110th International Women's Day this Monday 8 March 2021,CarAdvice will be recognising women who are making a mark on the automotive sector in Australia, and celebrating gender equality in our industry.