F&I and the female work force, what an attraction

Of all dealership departments, the F&I office has the highest percentage of women in key positions.

About 19 percent of all F&I managers are women, says Ted Kraybill, president of DeltaTrends, a Largo, Fla.-based research and consulting firm focused on hiring and retention in the auto industry.

That might not seem like a lot of women, but compare that to dealerships’ sales departments. Fifteen percent of all service advisers are women, but only 1 percent of technicians are female. And only 9 percent of sales consultants and 5 percent of sales managers are women, Kraybill says, citing the 2013 NADA Dealership Workforce Study.

In fact, the only dealership jobs dominated by women are office and administrative posts: Ninety-two percent of those staffers are women, Kraybill says.

“Either F&I is attracting more women or dealers are putting more women into the F&I position,” Kraybill says. “Either way, the highest percentage of females in a key production position in a dealership is the F&I manager position.”

To figure out why, Kraybill studied male-female ratios for comparable jobs in other industries. He found that in the banking industry, 54 percent of financial managers were women.

“There are obvious similarities between F&I and banking,” Kraybill says. “Anyone who has opened a new checking account or closed a personal loan has experienced the upsell on credit cards and insurance products. The question is: What is it about banking that tends to attract more women? It’s not just about banker’s hours.”

It might be the pay. The median U.S. weekly earnings for financial managers in 2012 was $1,169, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

Pay might be the attraction for women to F&I, too. According to Kraybill, citing the 2013 NADA Dealership Workforce Study, the national median weekly earnings for F&I managers in 2012 was $2,313.

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