Women want jobs in F&I. One finance director has said that most of the successful finance managers she knows are female, yet there seems to be a lingering assumption that the F&I world is unwelcoming to women and mothers.
During a panel discussion at CU Direct's Drive '17 conference last month, one dealer said he would love to have more women in F&I positions, but he believes that the dealership structure hasn't been friendly to mothers.
Another dealer said only four out of 14 salespeople at his dealership are female, which is low, but higher than average. Only 9 percent of sales consultants at new-vehicle dealerships were female in 2015, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association's most recent work force study. The same study found women accounted for 16 percent of F&I managers at new-vehicle stores.
Many women have traits that make them suitable for F&I. They are approachable and easy to talk to. Another dealer on the panel joked that when a female lender rep calls, he is less inclined to say he doesn't have time to talk than he is when a male rep calls.
Many women clearly have the expertise and capability to handle F&I, but conversations that assume they have different standards than their male colleagues still happen too frequently.
Yes, many female F&I managers may choose children over their careers, which would make a bell-to-bell schedule challenging. But other female F&I managers with children may be the breadwinners in their household. After all, F&I managers earned $132,786 on average in 2015, according to NADA. That's lucrative compensation for anyone, male or female. F&I managers who are also mothers may choose to work bell-to-bell while their partner focuses more on child care.
Mothers have responsibilities outside the dealership, but so do all parents. The dealership environment may be unfriendly to mothers, but in that case, it's probably unfriendly to many fathers, too. It's time to recast the conversation.