Ferrari's Jane Reeve tells us why women should be more than passengers in the automotive industry

By Polly Jean Harrison | 01 Sep 2020 | Leaders, Speed

Ferrari celebrates becoming the first Italian firm to receive the Equal Pay Certificate

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As Ferrari becomes the first car manufacturer – and first firm in Italy – to receive the Equal-Salary Certificate, chief communications officer Jane Reeve explains why women should be more than merely passengers in the industry. 

As told to Polly Jean Harrison

 

When we announced that Ferrari had ended the gender pay gap within all areas of the company, it shouldn’t really have made the news. Although we are happy to receive the Equal- Salary Certification – and, in fact, to become the first company in Italy to receive this from the Equal-Salary Foundation – we are adamant that paying the same salary to men and women with the same qualifications and positions should be the norm, rather than something for celebration.

That said, we understand that Ferrari might not seem like the most obvious company to be promoting gender equality, given that there is a high masculine bias in the automotive industry. But, for the past four years, we have been working steadily on how we can improve our representation in all areas of the company. Over this time, we have seen an increase in our female employees, and today more than 14% of our 4,285-strong workforce is female – an increase from 11.5% in 2016. 

Our female employees are spread across many different professional levels, too. It starts with me, in the senior management team, but also encompasses my female colleagues throughout the company. In the past few years we’ve seen an exciting acceleration of women in STEM roles, and today we employ women working in engineering, in emissions control as well as the body shop. In fact, 12% of our manufacturing team are women, although the highest saturation of female employees is in our marketing and communications department and our brand diversification team, where 64% and 59% of the teams, respectively, are female. 

When it came to addressing the gender balance at Ferrari, our approach was never to specifically say: “We need to go out and get more women”. We believe that diversifying our workforce shouldn’t just be about creating an arbitrary 50/50 split between genders, as that is still unrealistic for this business. In fact, having a scenario where we’re scrambling to fill quotas can itself become counterproductive. >>

Related: The rise of Ferrari: Tempus takes a look behind the legend

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* Jane Reeve is Ferrari's head of communications

Instead, being a company that represents and demands excellence, we work on hiring the very best people in the marketplace. The first thing we look for – from the thousands of requests we receive to work with us – is the person that has the best credentials for the job. It’s totally irrelevant what gender you are; the important thing is getting the job done, and well. 

At Ferrari we are working hard to ensure that our hiring practices are fair and equal – and this doesn’t end with gender. We want to promote diversity and inclusion across the board. When it comes to our workforce, we already have a mix of people from different cultures and nationalities and that has been a crucial part of the conversation we’ve been having about how to diversify our team. It’s important that we think about all aspects of equality and representation [in the automotive industry], not just about how many women we hire. We can still do better. 

As a company, and having seen many different ones during my career, I can definitely confirm that Ferrari really does put its people first – whether that’s providing exclusive medical benefits, including the recent introduction of ongoing serological tests for all employees and family members, or offering childcare and summer camps. Receiving the Equal-Salary Certification has been a confirmation for our staff members that we have no discrimination of gender and that individual merit is the only metric that matters. 

Of course, when Ferrari does anything we tend to get noticed. As the first Italian company to receive the Equal-Salary Certification from the Foundation we’re hoping that other organisations will follow suit and make equal pay a given, both in Italy and in the automotive world. It’s not going to happen overnight but I’m proud that Ferrari has given an example for others to move in the same direction.