ROSSLYN, South Africa (August 11, 2021) – The automotive industry the world over has a reputation for being male-dominated. Nissan South Africa is committed to helping change the face of the industry by empowering women to join the ranks across all spheres the company operates in.
As a global entity, Nissan believes that enabling women, particularly in management positions, is essential to providing diverse value to customers. The company has seen an increase in female management globally from 6.7% in 2008 to 13.9% in 2020, owing to its career development support and training provided for women in all regions.
Nissan South Africa has set employment equity targets to reach by the year 2025, prioritising the recruitment and empowerment of women at all levels, with a focus on the inclusion of women of colour. These targets include an increase in female representation at top management or executive level to 25% and an increase overall female representation at both senior and middle management levels.
The new targets the company has set are simply to ensure an upwards trajectory of the current efforts and achievements by Nissan women. Since 2017, Nissan South Africa has spent upwards of R56 million rand in training and development of female employees and in recent times, Nissan has seen multiple female senior managers leading some of the most crucial projects for the company.
These include the upgrading of the Rosslyn Manufacturing Plant in Pretoria and the building of the Nissan Navara locally, led by Senior Manager Chantelle Nkosi. Since the opening of the Rosslyn Plant, Nissan has ensured a 50/50 gender split in training programs, allowing up-and-comers to make it to the top regardless of their gender.
“As a woman who has grown within the organisation, it has been encouraging to see Nissan’s continued commitment to the empowerment of female employees. I started as a contracted engineer more than a decade ago and have since worked in multiple roles across the business, leading up to management roles,” said Nkosi
Nissan has also seen Head of Customer Experience, Digital & CRM, Nancy Moodley, spearheading the launch of the what the brand calls an ‘intuitive digital application technology,’ the Nissan pre-finance tool designed to allow customers to check affordability through a pre-approval process.
In order to ensure the achievement of the new employment equity targets, the company has identified multiple programmes and activities including:
- Focused talent development and robust succession planning that includes women in strategic positions.
- Use of regional programmes like Nissan GTR graduate programme to attract and accelerate development of females
- Use of programmes like Engineering Career Ladder (ECL) to increase female representation in the engineering fields.
- Use of leadership programmes to attract females into technical trades historically reserved for males.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the automotive industry, especially the dealer space. Lizette Crause, NSA General Manager of Customer Quality and Dealer Network Development, said “it has been a challenging 18 months since the start of the pandemic, but we continue to be inspired by our team especially the women across the dealer network. These women have had to manage the delicate balancing act between work and home lives. We continue to ensure we’re supporting the teams in their development goals through these challenging times.”
Liz Gorbunov, chief marketing manager for light-commercial vehicles at Nissan South Africa, has said she believes in the importance of mentorship to empower young women in the industry. “When a person rises to the level of executive, you have to realise that this comes with responsibility. We must work with the young women in our industry, to help them see the pitfalls and avoid them. We want them to feel like they can speak up, they can choose to challenge when they are mistreated. By making this the norm, we make it even easier for the next generation of young women,” said Gorbunov.
Nissan South Africa encourages employees to continue challenging the pre-conceived notions about women in the industry and is committed to supporting them as they choose to challenge the status-quo.