Express Lube CEOs: ‘Women make our auto servicing business – and the industry – stronger’

The automotive industry has always been a male dominated one. Today, in Australia, women account for just 2% of the industry – whether as mechanics, behind the front desk, as executives, or in parts and production. Although the stats suggest just one in fifty staff members at auto servicing businesses like ours are women, things are a little different at Express Lube. CEOs Damon and Pete have built diverse teams staffed by hard-working women of all stripes, from expert mechanics to ops managers. And, according to them, the business is a hell of a lot stronger for it. 

Here’s what Damon and Pete had to say about the importance – and straight up business benefits – of having women in the auto servicing industry.

The times are changing

Women have been on the move into traditionally male-dominated sectors for over a decade now. The Age recently revealed the results of a study that showed it. Although early in the pandemic, the number of women on the payroll in industries like engineering and construction took a hit, it was almost 2% higher than the pre-COVID level. A combination of factors is likely behind this shift – flexible work, more jobs available, and the pressure to break into the increasingly competitive property market, to name a few.

Despite this – and despite the steadily increasing number of women gaining automotive industry trade qualifications – there has been almost no change in the number of women in the automotive industry over that time.

If you ask our CEOs, Damon and Pete, the industry is missing out on huge benefits.

Doing things differently

Hiring a diverse team has always been important for Express Lube. Putting performance and team-fit first has seen Damon and Pete hire dozens of women in the 13 years since opening the doors. Female mechanics can be found on the tools and friendly female faces greet our customers and keep things running smoothly in the office and on the floor. 

Damon and Pete believe that the women on the Express Lube team add value in a number of important areas.

“Women bring something to the team that the men don’t necessarily have,” said Co-CEO Damon. “Things like patience, kindness, and clear communication help us serve customers and coordinate staff better every day.”

Pete believes having women on the team also provides a better experience for our customers, and sets a positive example for other businesses.

female mechanic - women in automotive industry“People like to see that the industry is changing and becoming more inclusive,” said Pete. “Female employees also allow us to connect better with our female customers, who sometimes say they usually find a visit to the mechanic intimidating.”

According to Express Lube mechanic Avalon Davy, this is just the beginning of the automotive industry’s evolution. 

“As a female who has been in the industry for over 16 years as a mechanic, it’s wonderful to see how much it’s changed,” said Avalon. “I am looking forward to seeing more women challenging stereotypes and taking our place on the tools!”

According to the Motor Trades Association of Australia, in 2017, there were almost 1,000 female mechanics in Australia, around 1% of mechanics in the industry. Now at 2%, that number is believed to be steadily increasing.