Summer awards recognise the importance of increasing the number of women in the car industry
18 May 2016

Autocar will reveal the car industry’s 100 most influential British women this summer.

A panel of judges from Autocar and the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) will select winners in a series of categories, as well as one individual who will be named Britain’s most influential woman in the automotive industry.

The announcement will form a key part of an event created to encourage more women into the automotive industry and to address challenges they face in both entering and progressing in it.

The winners will be announced at the inaugural Great British Women in the Car Industry event on 8 July 2016, where a follow-up panel debate will also discuss the challenges and issues involved.

Autocar editorial director, Jim Holder, said: “We have started this event to stimulate debate about the attractiveness of the industry we love as a place to work for everyone. At present, women are underrepresented in the automotive industry, but it is our belief that a positive focus on the numerous opportunities that a career in the industry can offer can have a real impact in reversing that trend.

“For instance, only 9% of the UK’s engineering workforce is female, the lowest percentage in Europe, and less than 16% of engineering and technology undergraduates are women. Despite this, 64% of engineering employers state that a lack of new talent is a threat to their business and reports suggest that there is a shortfall of 55,000 new recruits a year if the UK’s engineering industry is to reach its potential.”

The initiative is backed by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), Direct Line Group, Ford and Jaguar Land Rover. Additional support comes from Gaia Innovation.

The Autocar Great British Women in the Car Industry judging panel will be chaired by Haymarket Media Group’s automotive Brand Director Rachael Prasher.

The panel – Jim Holder, Steve Cropley, Rachel Burgess, Mel Falconer, and Vicky Parrott from Autocar’s editorial department, plus SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes and director of communications and international, Tamzen Isacsson – will pick their winners at a judging day on 19 May.

They will select one overall winner, plus individuals representing a series of categories – Executive, Design, Product Development, Manufacturing/Purchasing, Communications, Sales, Marketing, Motorsport, HR, and Rising Stars.

Mike Hawes said: “UK Automotive employs around 800,000 people in the UK and, with record exports and productivity levels, it is an exciting industry to join. We’re delighted to support this new initiative by Autocar to identify the most influential British women in the car industry and to promote them as role models to inspire young people considering career prospects.

“Recent research has shown there are, right now, at least 5000 vacancies in UK automotive manufacturing, underlining a critical need to attract more young people into the industry – particularly women, who are currently outnumbered by men in the sector three to one.”

The Great British Women in the Car Industry event will be held at the SMMT’s London headquarters, and will begin with a keynote speech by Ford of Europe’s vice president and COO, Barb Samardzich. This will be followed by a panel debate, chaired by Autocar’s editor-in-chief Steve Cropley.

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