Yvonne Bowyer knows how to help diversify the automotive industry​

Yvonne Bowyer is a business woman with a passion for equality. After experiencing pregnancy discrimination, she decided that the workforce needed to change - and that she wanted to be part of that change.

Since then, she developed a software recruitment tool that helps strip away any potential bias from the recruiting process, and is partnering with like-minded industry leaders to establish a member based organisation that will advocate for more diversity in the automotive industry.

DANi, or ‘Diverse Automotive Network incorporated’ will help support its members in the automotive industry in Australia to hire, support and promote a more diverse workforce.

“What we are trying to do is change both the perception and the reality that the automotive industry is male dominated,” Yvonne tells WLA. “We want to help the automotive industry to support all forms of diversity and inclusion in the workforce, not just gender. We know diversity and inclusion is good for business and it will help create a more sustainable automotive industry.”

DANi is an exciting new offering and already has support from the Australian Automotive Dealer Association (AADA), car dealership Frizelle Sunshine Automotive, auto retail group A.P. Eagers, Carsales, Mazda, St George and RemiPeople. The member organisation will equip its members with information, helpful tools and resources and support to ensure they are able to hire the best person for the job and create a diverse workforce.

“A lot of the dealerships we are working with and hope to work with are small businesses. They have a lot of competing priorities and far less resources available to them to help them tackle things like diversity in their staff.”  

Yvonne highlighted three things that workplaces (not just the automotive industry!) can do today to start tackling bias and recruiting practices in their organisation:

  1. "Take a look at where you are at. Do an analysis of your workplace and gauge how many men and women you employ, and also look at the profile of your customers. Do they match? If not, it is worth looking at whether you might need to try something different in your recruiting practice."
  2. "Have a look at who you are attracting when you post recruitment ads. We know that certain types of language (for example, strong and assertive) will deter women from applying for roles. Recruiting elements like the kinds of images you use matter as well."
  3. "Be mindful that when you read a CV you make many assumptions about that person. For example, if they went to a similar university as you, we immediately assume they are a high-quality candidate. Same if they have industry experience. But quite often those that look good on paper don’t deliver once on the job. As an alternative, put aside the CV. Ask candidates to show you they can do the job, don’t rely on them telling you. By simply asking them to respond to a couple of work skill questions that they would commonly experience, you can get a real sense of their capability."

 

Yvonne is also the founder of RemiPeople, a recruitment tool that helps organisations to recruit the best person for the job. The software is carefully designed to strip away any potential bias at every stage of the recruitment process.

“The software was inspired by how they hold auditions for orchestras. They noticed that the orchestras were overwhelmingly male, so they began asking the musicians to audition behind a screen. That way, their decision was based entirely on skill. Since then, orchestras have been much more balanced in terms of diversity.” 

More from WLA:

Catherine Fox on workplace innovation

The biggest takeaways from WGEA's workplace gender equality report

Dr. Terry Fitzsimmons on tackling gender equity in the workplace