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The Rise of Female Mechanics in the UK and What it Means for the Industry

The Rise of Female Mechanics in the UK and What it Means for the Industry

Auto Repair

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5

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More Women Becoming Car Mechanics in the UK and What it Means for the Industry. Although the number of women in the car repair trade overall is small, the figures are rising

It won't come as any surprise to most people to learn that the number of female mechanics in the United Kingdom is very low – estimated at around just 200 out of 500,000 mechanics overall. But although the number remains small, there are signs that more women are entering the profession.  

Given the increasing number of well-paid female professionals and rising car ownership among women, garages are seeing more women bringing their cars in for services, repairs and other jobs. Statistics show that the number of male and female licence holders is almost equal, with 16 million females and 17 million males as of 2019, so there is definitely a huge market for all-female garages.  

As we shall see below, rising numbers of female-owned car repair shops has important implications because women have traditionally been nervous about dealing with all aspects of car maintenance, a sector that has always been male dominated.

 

Let's start with a look at why there are such low numbers of female car mechanics.

  • Traditionally, male and female job roles have tended to divide along physical lines. The mechanic’s job has always been seen as involving heavy physical work in unpleasant, usually dirty conditions
  • Unfortunately, cars can bring out the worst in men, who see vehicles as their exclusive domain and tend to look down on women who show an interest in them
  • Women have traditionally been intimidated by what can be a sexist atmosphere at colleges where car repair is taught as well as in garages
  • There are very few mentors, or role models, for women interested in becoming mechanics

 

As female mechanics point out, however, there are definitely solutions available:

  • Brute strength isn't always needed since there are electric and other tools for everything these days
  • Women can actually be a better fit for this type of work since they are generally more patient and less likely to give up on an irritating job that is not going well
  • In dealing with female customers, women tend to be more communicative and far less likely to want to blind them with jargon

As Caroline Lake, the owner of Caroline's Cars in Norfolk, summarises the issue on her website: “Sadly, the garage industry is one sector where women are still massively underrepresented in the workplace and unfortunately many women still find a trip to the garage with their car a very scary encounter. They are more likely to be patronised, ripped off and charged more than men. Also, many women don’t ever lift the bonnet on their car or perform any routine checks – not because they are not capable but because they don’t know how and are scared to ask.”

 

What are the advantages of garages with female mechanics?

  • Female customers are likely to feel much more comfortable and not intimidated when they can talk to a woman about a car problem
  • Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) need to be able to differentiate themselves, and a female-led car repair shop definitely achieves this  
  • More than 20% of women say they are uncomfortable getting their car repaired because of the atmosphere in typical car repair shops
  • Female mechanics speak to women customers in a language they understand without resorting to jargon and high-pressure sales tactics
  • Although this is already happening in garages across the board, female repair shops in particular have waiting areas and other facilities that are more user-friendly to women

 

The journey starts here

In today's world, where equality is promoted (and sexist and chauvinist behaviour is definitely old school) female car owners expect to be treated respectfully.

 

Of course, many garages owned and run by men are also making these changes, but for women who want to run a car repair shop, this is definitely a way to make an impression on female car owners and run a garage with a difference that attracts business.

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