Car Dealerships Push to Hire More Women

by : Christine Harrell

The next time you walk onto a car lot with your car loan quotes and other papers in hand, you are as likely as not to find a female sales representative waiting to help you. Although car dealers traditionally have employed a mostly male sales force, recent trends have them actively recruiting more women.

Most Car Buyers are Women

One reason for this change is that most of the customers seeking car loan quotes and buying cars are female. According to an article in Motor Matters around 58% of car buyers are women; Road & Travel Magazine puts that number closer to 65%. Despite a predominately female customer base, auto dealership employees have been overwhelmingly male.

According to surveys, a majority of female customers say feel more comfortable dealing with female sales people. Some women are uncomfortable with salesmen because they feel the men treat them condescendingly. A survey by CNW Marketing Research showed that women are three times more likely to want a female sale representative than a male one.

Car dealers are responding to these studies and to their own experience with female sales people and are hunting down more women to work the sales floor.

The Showroom Isn't the Only Choice for Women

Although more women are selling cars on the floor and issuing car loan quotes in the finance department, opportunities in the service and parts departments abound as well. The women in these jobs aren't grease-stained tomboys who spent their teen years rebuilding transmissions. They are average women, often with customer service experience in other jobs.

Parts and service jobs require a great personality. The ability for the shop to generate repeat business greatly depends on how the employee gets along with the customer. The technical part of the job can be taught, but good customer service is a real art. Women with strong people skills have a lot of opportunities in these areas, earning the same wages as their male counterparts.

A Changing Industry

Although car dealers are trying to minimize the gender gap, many are at a loss as to how to attract more female employees. Much of the difficulty comes from the potential employees themselves. Many women never consider working at an auto dealership. Some assume that dealerships don't hire women while others fear they might be harassed in a male-dominated environment. They might be surprised just how male-dominated these fields aren't anymore.

While women don't yet make up half the employees in the auto sales and finance industry, you'll find quite a few more women at car dealerships than you would have a few years ago. From the person giving you car loan quotes to the sales representative to the service staff, more women are making inroads into these fields than ever before.