During NADA 2018, Women in Automotive Founder Christy Roman chatted with Cars.com about the state of the industry. And she has a lot to say. Check out the following highlights of our Q&A with Christy about why the industry needs to hire and nurture more women:

 Why the Auto Industry Needs to Hire More Women

“Women can be the best employees in the industry, and 85 percent of purchase decisions are made by women. Not to hire women is crazy!

If the automotive industry can do a better job hiring and nurturing women, we’ll become a more stable and promising employment destination for everyone. It’s no secret that the automotive industry has a big problem attracting and keeping quality employees in general. That problem is going to get worse as the current generation tries to hire talent from the millennial pool. Women and millennials both want the same things from employers: more work/life balance and training. And women perform exceptionally well in this industry. If the industry can learn to adapt to the needs of women, the industry will become more appealing to millennials, who are not choosing careers in automotive right now.”

How the Industry Can Improve

“Learn from successful companies that hiring and train women. Look at a company like Cars.com. Look at all the resources and training Cars.com provides. Dealerships have the resources to provide training, too, if they really want to.

Dealerships need to be willing to experiment. For example, be flexible about your compensation structure. Be willing to offer different compensation plans for people who want a five-day work week in order to have more work/life balance. Ironically there is so much pressure on salespeople to make commission numbers that they end up losing their focus on serving the customer. To put the focus back on servicing customers, dealerships need to change how they compensate their people anyway, and they might as well start with women. Doing so will help dealerships improve their operations overall.”

What Makes Women Employees Different

“Women, especially moms, tend to be better at multitasking. Women also bring compassion and empathy. Having women on your dealership staff can teach you how to stop having pre-conceived notions about women shoppers and learn how to break bad habits such as talking to the husband instead of to the woman.

Women are very capable of doing the same work as anyone, but they are not being developed the way they should.”

How Women in Automotive Makes the Industry Better

“What we are trying to do is elevate women and provide resources to help them become the best employees they can be. Right now, we do so primarily through events where women can network, get inspired, and mentor each other.

A lot of women in this industry feel isolated. We provide that opportunity for networking and an opportunity to be with your peers. I have been amazed at how many people have told us our events change their lives. And we have helped catapult a few people into sought-after speakers. Women such as Lisa Copeland and Evelyn Chatel who have spoken at our events have become sought-after thought leaders.

I’m excited at where we are headed! We are planning to eventually implement training for women and dealers to help women prepare for the automotive industry – the situations they may encounter and how to handle them. Look for this kind of training in the future.”

A Message to Women

“Automotive is a great industry.  In life, you are in control of your career – no one else is. Ask for things. If you don’t ask, you don’t know what you might be missing. Find a mentor to help you become the best you can be.”