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For decades now the automotive and financing landscape tended to be one of those redoubtable male enclaves. If you walk into any dealership, you are greeted and taken care of by a male associate. The gender discrepancy is jarring with women making up only 22 per cent of the workforce in automotive and even less in senior management roles.
Jake Stacey, newly appointed EVP of sales and Training with LGM Financial Services – a national F&I provider – knows this all too well, and of the struggles many women continue to face to get footholds in the automotive marketplace in Canada.
“I have spent my career in automotive and banking sectors – both male dominated industries,” said Stacey. “When I first started out, I didn’t think about it. It was always normal for me to look around and see only male colleagues at my level and above. It wasn’t until I started taking on more senior roles that I asked myself – why are there no women on this team?”
Closing the gap for women in the workplace is core to Stacey’s mission and she views LGM as a partner to help her drive change. LGM has impressive statistics in this area already with the firm employing 56 per cent more females than the industry average. This is especially impressive given that women in F&I have been reported to make 55 per cent less than their male peers, and report experience higher levels of bias than any other industry.
“LGM has done a fantastic job of creating meaningful resources and programs to help women build confidence and develop” touts Stacey. She commends LGM’s leadership for making this a priority even amidst the realities of the pandemic and recognizes that now more than ever companies need a more balanced approach.
“It’s no secret, balanced teams perform better,” says Stacey. “We see this at some of our most successful dealerships too. These teams tend to see things differently. They are curious and quick to adopt new thinking and habits — and that is crucial in our current environment.”
Team cohesion aside, it’s also important to recognize that women drive 70-80 per cent of all consumer purchasing through their buying power and influence. Stacey points out that this gender imbalance at dealerships is costing dealers more than they realize. “It’s imperative that dealerships have strong female representation because it is women who drive most of the economic decisions for their families” says Stacey. She adds, “it is becoming increasingly important to consumers to do business with companies that are driving social change and righting inequities.”
Stacey has her sights set on the development of a coaching and mentorship program but in the interim, she is speaking out and sharing LGM’s resources.
One of LGM’s most successful programs is the Women’s Corner, an online training space with video lessons curated specifically to develop women in the workplace. In honor of International Women’s Day, LGM will open the program to women at no cost regardless of their affiliation to LGM. In doing this, Stacey hopes to help empower women to take their seat at the table.
Click here to register to participate in the Women’s Corner.