Since automobiles were first invented, almost every aspect of the industry has been male dominated and while this is gradually changing many believe the need to do more is still required.
For the Jacksons Group though, bucking the trend is nothing new. One of the first groups to bring multiple manufacturers under one roof, something that would never have happened previously, meant that their island customers could benefit from increased choice and the peace of mind that their chosen brand would have a manufacturer approved servicing agent on island.
As for bucking the historical male dominance of the industry, that has always been a major focus to ensure that their workforce better represents the island communities they serve. But, what’s it really like to be a woman in a ‘mans’ world?
Sharne Bradley is Jacksons and Motor Mall Motability specialist. “I’m not a fan of saying whether males or females are better placed to be in any specific role, but I do believe that in my role especially a higher degree of empathy is really important. My primary role is to help people with varying degrees of mobility issues to get the perfect car for them and organise any special adaptations they may require. I’ve worked with Motability customers for many years now and I have to say it really is enormously rewarding.”
Mirelle Saxon is Motor Malls Commercial specialist primarily dealing with vans and commercials for large and small businesses. “Someone gave me the title of ‘white van woman’ and I don’t mind that. My role in the industry is predominantly dominated by males which did mean I used to have to try that bit harder, but to be honest my many business clients seem to really enjoy working with me, and what really matters is having the expertise to help the business get the commercial vehicles they need and often with the best financial options.”
Kate Doig is one of the key people in the busy Aftersales and Servicing teams. “I know there’s a cliché around how women can multitask better, but in my role this is something you absolutely have to be able to do. There are new challenges to face almost minute by minute. We regularly have over 30 customers a day dropping their cars off for servicing and they all have different needs, parts to order, timings to be managed, workshop space to be booked and then of course keeping the customers informed and collecting their cars at the end of the day. I would say that for any women looking at the motor industry as a potential career, go for it!”
From the busy Parts Department, Emma Fletcher’s job is perhaps even more challenging. “As the island’s only manufacturer approved dealer for the 24 motoring brands we represent, we not only have to manage hundreds of thousands of parts for our own work but also supplying to the island’s trade. Each manufacturer has a slightly different ordering and management system and there are obviously almost unlimited number of parts. It’s a challenging job but one that never has a dull moment and I would absolutely recommend more females looking at our industry as a career.”
Amy Valiant and Steph Lenon are two of the companies Sales Executives. Having been with the company nearly 2 years, Steph has recently gained promotion and now manages the prestigious Toyota and Lexus brands. “Of course I was a little unsure how well I could work in what has always been a male dominated industry but I am living proof that if you put the work in you get the rewards. I love helping my customers get into their new cars and I do feel that being a female can actually help some customers to feel more relaxed and enjoy what should be a fantastic experience.”
From back-office functions like accounts to front line sales and servicing, Jacksons firmly believe that a better balanced workforce is vital. Group Operations Director Paul Kell is a firm believer in bucking the industry male dominance. “35% of our workforce are female, with a growing number now filling managerial and more senior roles. This is a very welcome shift that helps create better diversity in the workplace and the shedding of some of the historic ‘laddish’ culture. This isn’t about being ‘PC’, it’s about greater diversity and individuality delivering a better, healthier workplace for all, and being more representative of the island communities we serve.”
Jacksons and Motor Mall operate in four island jurisdictions with the Isle of Man operation being their most recent. Employing over 80 people on the island, and over 500 in the Group, they are the authorised and approved manufacturer agents for sales and servicing of 24 of the world’s biggest automotive brands, from Dacia to Bentley.
Left to right: Amy Valiant, Mirelle Saxon, Steph Lenon, Sharne Edwards & Emma Fletcher.