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IMI Diversity Task Force publishes interim report

IMI Diversity Task Force publishes interim report (@The_IMI) 

Initial findings identify acute gaps in knowledge and the need for leader and employee mentoring and support

The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) Diversity Task Force launched in April 2021 as a year-long project to identify and tackle the root issues that have the potential to undermine the automotive sector’s future sustainability.

Nine months on, the IMI is publishing its interim report on initial progress of the Industry Expert Panel and the three working groups that make up the Task Force.

Focusing on the growing skills needs of the sector and how the lack of diversity is compounding the issue, the Task Force set out to find ways in which the industry can increase its appeal to a more diverse workforce.

“Even before we started this project, we were aware that there was much that we did not know”, explained Professor Jim Saker, President of the IMI.

“So identifying the gaps in knowledge was the first and most important task for our experts to undertake and we are enormously grateful to everyone who has embraced this huge undertaking by getting involved, enabling the work to move at a faster pace than we dared hope.

“The first nine months have challenged and energised our experts, highlighting many gaps in knowledge and demonstrating that small adjustments can bring about significant improvement. Now, each Working Group has presented their initial findings as well as several proposals to improve diversity within the automotive industry and we look forward to presenting the full report and final recommendations ahead of the IMI Dinner on 17th March 2022.”

Each Working Group has presented general recommendations for the industry, as well as those focused more specifically on their areas of expertise. General recommendations include benchmarking professional standards against cultural competency and developing Continual Professional Development activities that effectively support diversity and inclusion within the automotive sector. 


Chair: Kevin Finn FIMI, Chair of the IMI Board
Subject Matter Experts – Nathan Sawbridge MIMI, Dealer Principal – Lexus and Toyota Nottingham at Inchcape Plc and Jodie Williams, Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Sytner Group
Project co-ordinator – Dee McHugh MIMI

“As a business leader, I want to make positive changes, and so wanted to fully understand the challenges and issues around diversity and inclusion”, explained Kevin Finn.

“I’m delighted to be working with a group of talented and inspirational individuals and I look forward to being part of a long-term drive for change.”

Initial recommendations from this Working Group include:

  •  Agreeing the common fields of employee data that automotive businesses collect and using the data to baseline and monitor   progress
  •  Introducing reverse mentoring for leaders
  •  Educating people what an ally is and understanding how to practice being an ally
  •  Creating supportive networking groups


Chair – Sarah Sillars OBE, Hon FIMI. IMI Vice President
Subject Matters Experts – Andy Kent FIMI, published author and Tony McKillop, Regional Office and Claims Manager, Autoguard Warranties
Project co-ordinator – Sally-Anne Hodder FIMI

“The amount of time, energy and commitment that our extensive group has shown over our four meetings has been breath-taking”, said Sarah Sillars.

“There is no real data in our sector but some great case studies, policies and best practice to help shape our thinking. However, the real upside is the group have new ideas. The next stage is to try to bring the abundance of input from all the group together. We’re thinking ‘small change for big wins’.”

Initial recommendations from this Working Group include:

  • Personalised messages and social media campaigns to raise awareness, empathy and understanding
  • Development of a competency framework toolkit for recruitment


Chair – Linda Jackson Hon FIMI, CEO, Peugeot & IMI Vice President
Subject Matter Expert – Julia Muir, founder of The Automotive 30% Club
Project co-ordinator – Joanna Hollingdale MIMI

“It is a pleasure to be working with a group passionate to make steps forward in encouraging more diversity”, commented Linda Jackson.

“We are pulling on the ‘real life’ experience of our group members and also looking across best practice already in place. Our combined ambition is to make a difference and offer pragmatic proposals to our industry through the development of key principles to embrace a culture of diversity.”

Initial recommendations from this Working Group include:

  •  Develop a better understanding of the workplace environment needs of Gen Z in order to inspire them to join the sector
  •  Identify a clear career pathway for those joining the industry mid-career
  •  Renaming the working group the Gender and Sexual Orientation working group, to better reflect the diversity of the work.

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