Gender gap in the automotive industry and a concrete example from Michelin

Gender equality gaps are persistent in many industries both in terms of equal pay/salaries and women representation. In particular, the automotive industry is one of the worst regarding female employment2. For example, in 2018 only 16% of the automotive labour force were women2. The 2018 Fortune Global 500 index showed that only 16 females (8%) were executives among the top 20 automotive companies1. Moreover, more than half of the top 20 companies in this industry have zero women on their executive teams1. According to Catalyst, in 2018 only 24,7% were women employed in the manufacturing of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers and only 15.5% were employed in wholesale and repair automotive industry1.

Concerning the American situation even though half of the USA labour force are wo men, only a quarter of them are working in the automotive industry1. 23.6% of jobs were held by female individuals in the motor vehicles and motor vehicles equipment manufacturing industry in 20191. Thus, it is safe to state that there is still a room for improvement in this industry.

Regarding the gender wage gap, according to the UNECE commission, the average difference between the hourly earnings of women and men are 18.2% in the UNECE region3.

Therefore, you can see how much work is still needed to reach pay/salary equality.

Now let's take a look at a real-world example.

Michelin is a company manufacturing, distributing, and selling tires8. It offers tires and services for different types of vehicles, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles/motorcycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, and trucks8. It is operating in 26 countries with 117 production facilities and 22 offices buildings8. In 2019 the company generated 9.4 € bl8. 49.1% of the revenue comes from Automotive & related distribution, 24.2% from Specialty businesses & related distribution and 26.7% from Road transportation & related distribution8. Moreover, looking at the geographical revenue breakdown, 36.9% comes from North America, 36.7% from Europe and 26.5% from other countries8.

In 2019, the Michelin group employed 127,000 people worldwide (around 23,000 in the USA and 67,000 in the EU) with 18.6% (21,000) of women4. Michelin is engaged in diverse activities to promote women's role and reduce the gender wage gap4. In 2019, 27.4% of women worked in management positions at Michelin Global4. 20%, 2 members out of 10, of the Executive Group Committee and 25% (5 out of 20) of the Management Group Committee were women4. Moreover, Michelin Supervisory Board is formed of 9 members, and 45% are women4. These indexes are indeed higher than the average of top companies in the industry1 highlighting that Michelin is engaging more than its competitors in reducing gender gaps.

To improve the life quality of its female employees, Michelin North America engages in different activities and programs5. For example, female north American workers have different benefits such as fully paid parental leave for 12 weeks and support to working mums through The Michelin Mama’s group to find balance at work and home5. Furthermore, through the program called Milk Stork Michelin employees can ship breastmilk home overnight while traveling5. They also have access to pregnancy support, infertility benefits and adoption assistance5.

In 2019, Michelin's global gender wage gap was around 2.67%4. In France, Michelin paid almost equal salaries generating a 1% wage gap4. In the UK, Michelin women's mean hourly salary was 4.5% lower than men's in 20186. It shows that Michelin's wage gap is lower than the average in the UNECE region3.

Michelin is a leading corporation in the automotive sector, having a great impact on society. Looking at the above described results, it is safe to say that the company must pursue its efforts in reducing the gender gap and lead the change in the automotive industry, which is far behind other sectors like education7. By doing so, the company will lead by example and hopefully, it will start an industry change.











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