Study Underway to Research Diversity Numbers

Project’s goal to establish baseline, increase recruitment.

Jim Henry, Contributor

September 29, 2023

2 Min Read
Diversity
Companies strive to add diversity to the workforce.Getty Images

The Center for Automotive Diversity, Inclusion and Advancement, and business research and consulting firm KPMG are fielding a survey-based Diversity, Equity and Inclusion study of the whole mobility ecosystem.

The study is sponsored by Detroit-based MICHauto, a trade association that includes automotive OEMs, suppliers, dealers, high-tech providers, defense contractors and logistics companies. The survey is aimed at respondents in the same categories. MICHauto is part of the Detroit Regional Chamber.

“Everybody wants to know how they’re doing compared to the rest of the industry” with regard to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, says CADIA CEO Cheryl Thompson (pictured below, left). “With all the resources people are putting into this, they want to know whether they’re making a difference or not.”

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Thompson, Cheryl_0

That’s going to require some new research. An important object of the new study is to establish a baseline for detailed demographics, cross-referenced with corporate roles, Thompson says — not just a headcount.

Women, for instance, tend to be found in certain roles and not others, she says. “Are they in admin, or human resources roles? Or in engineering roles, operations roles? And where are they in the pipeline, if the intent is (that) they’re going to wind up in those roles? Where are the gaps? Where do we need to put our focus?” Thompson says.

Some earlier research was enlightening but anecdotal – for instance, compiling reasons why women might not pursue a career in automotive, she says.

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Other research has been aimed at asking what kind of programs different organizations have in place but didn’t necessarily allow organizations to compare against the average, or against each other. “Everybody wants to know, how (are we) doing compared to the rest of the industry,” Thompson says.

Meanwhile, corporations report some basic employee demographics which in turn are reported by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, but the data isn’t very detailed and doesn’t lend itself to comparing individual organizations, she says.

Thompson also says there’s also no convenient or consistent way to track jobs at different levels, such as managers, senior management or executive management, she says.

“If it turns out you only have 2% females and expect to get to 30%, that’s one thing — starting with, maybe you need to look at changing your goal. But if it’s 27% of your company is female, and leadership is only 5%, that’s something else,” she says.

The study is already in the field, Thompson tells Wards. She says results are expected before the end of the year.

 

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