Race Equality Matters is pleased to announce that Auto Trader have been awarded Bronze Trailblazer status!


Panellists felt Auto Trader demonstrated significant impact in their work towards tackling race inequality as well as growth in pursuing development and understanding. Auto Trader demonstrated how they were committed to being a conscious employer and clearly acknowledged the significance of having a diverse workforce and fostering an inclusive culture that makes a positive impact. Panellists shared that Auto Trader sought to prevent the loss of unique experiences and identities and it was good to see them evidence the thought processes and consultation that supported their activity. Throughout their application they evidenced how education played a key role in creating change within the organisation and acted as a key focus for their Network in order to elevate and build a community their colleagues felt they belonged to. Panellists felt Auto Trader had taken a proactive and conscious approach. 

100% of judging panellists voted that their application had demonstrated evidence of action and 100% voted for Auto Trader to receive the status. In addition to this100% said this was the type of place they would like to work for 


Actions and Initiatives


Network Rebrand – The importance of Terminology 


Auto Trader changed the name of their network as they felt the term BAME (although reframed to Building a Multicultural Environment)was inherently problematic and did not encompass everyone within their network. They felt that ‘Ethnicity’ as a term highlights race, religion and cultural heritage and invites ‘everyone to the table and does not box anybody into a single category.’ 

Auto Trader highlighted the importance of their Network in helping to build an environment that was inclusive for all. To support this commitment and to increase their impact they recruited new network facilitators and a new co-lead. This was to make sure they had a culturally and ethnically diverse representation and perspective when making their changes. After dedicated research and a ‘facilitator workshop they rebranded the network from BAME to Ethnicity. 

Judging panellist commented that it was ‘great to see the recognition of all the different protected characteristics’ as this covered more ground and their reasoning showed real evidence of creating an environment of equality and inclusivity.


Chat Spaces and Videos of Uncomfortable conversations 


Auto Trader hosts a series of Chat Space’s, safe spaces where colleagues can discuss topics related to race, cultural and religious diversity, including racism in sport, cultural mental health taboos, wearing a Hijab, the meaning of Ramadan, and Race Equality week and the importance of Allyship in which they have encouraged colleagues to make a Big Promise.  

They launched Uncomfortable Conversation video episodes, where colleagues from across the business answered race and culture related questions that people are often uncomfortable asking. This allows them to build a safe and open culture to help break down barriers. Last year, their episodes focused on cultural identity and the challenges of growing up in England after moving from Nigeria as a child, the realities of being a Muslim woman versus societal perceptions, and differing experiences in cricket between White and Asian or Black colleagues. These episodes were live streamed in a hybrid format, followed by a discussion and Q&A session about the topics covered. In addition to this Auto Trader have been dedicated to celebrating events such as World Hijab Day, South Asian Heritage Month, and Black History Month incorporating meaningful activity to increase inclusivity. 

Judging Panellists praised the application and the way that open discussions have been pursued and made accessible. Panellists also enjoyed seeing the intersectionality within the application and they praised the way an example was set in how to navigate difficult conversations with colleagues. 


Diverse Talent Accelerator programme


Auto Trader have also increased representation at senior leadership levels through their Diverse Talent Accelerator Programme. The program was designed to provide diverse colleagues with the tools to accelerate in their careers with the aim to have a pipeline of diverse future leaders. To date, they have had 60 colleagues go through the programme in its first two years and last year was the third year of the programme. They shared that almost 70% of their ethnically diverse colleague from the first two cohorts of DTA have received a promotion or change of role. While they recognise, they are still looking at further ways to progress panellists shared this was a great achievement and felt real measures had been put in place to make a difference to representation. 


Quarterly Survey Inspires change 


On the back of a quarterly check in survey, during October 2022, Auto Trader found that their Black colleagues were having a more negative experience in the workplace compared to their White and Asian colleagues. Following on from this, they held a safe space listening session, for their Black colleagues to share their lived experiences in the workplace. This was facilitated by an external D&I consultant whom we have been working with for several years. This information was then fed back to their CEO, ethnicity network sponsor and members of their people and culture team and using this information, they ran sessions named ‘The Black Experience.’ They ran a series of workshops with people leads focused specifically on understanding the black experience and identifying the action they need to take to improve this. 


Impact and Ethnically diverse Staff Endorsement 


  • Positive testimonies: 

“Loved the initiative of World Hijab Day, it gave me a better understanding of another religion and the opportunity to ask questions and I felt gratitude for allowing me the opportunity to wear the hijab for the day. I did feel a little uncomfortable sometimes as it’s not my normal dress and let it settle on my shoulders. When I realised that many Muslim women who wear the hijab choose to live a life of modesty and that it’s not forced but ultimately a choice, it made sense on why Muslim women are proud to wear a Hijab.”

“Thanks for organising the listening sessions, things have been a lot better since I was able to share what I was experiencing.”

“Fantastic Chatspace. Really interesting and enjoyed listening to everyone’s viewpoints. So many angles to this one – could have easily been another hour and the conversation would still be flowing. Thanks all.”

  • Auto Trader have successfully collected ethnicity data from 95% of their colleagues. Which not only helps them to gain insights into the experiences of their ethnically diverse colleagues but also use the data and insight to drive actions.
  • They also report on their Ethnicity Pay Gap which they have been doing since March 2021.
  • In FY23, they received 6,651 job applications and made 259 offers. 51% of applications were ethnically diverse candidates.
  • They have also seen an increase of ethnically diverse employees in senior leadership roles.
  • They have also developed a cultural calendar which is open to everyone. This creates an opportunity for anybody to share a key date that they want the network to embrace.


Feedback from an Ethnically Diverse Panel


 The overall application demonstrated real strength with clearly defined goals and subsequent actions. Panellists praised the detailed explanations of the reasoning behind why and how certain actions were taken, even addressing uncomfortable situations and using data to monitor sentiments and experiences to ensure all colleagues are being considered and all voices are being heard. The inclusion of clear evidence and examples throughout strengthened the applications and the testimonials provided added support and clarity on the impact the actions are having.

Next steps…

Looking to the future, Auto Trader seeks to (among other actions):

  • They will be creating a terminology Toolkit.
  • The toolkit will also play a role It will also play in getting their colleagues to think positively and bigger in what they can achieve. It will also help and support allies on understand the type of terminology that is okay to use
  • They will then be looking to do a an Allyship toolkit. This will give allies ways to work and support their ethnically diverse colleagues.
  • They will be working on further uncomfortable conversation video content.
  • Driving conversations about accessibility from an Ethnicity lens to ensure that their product offerings are truly inclusive and consider intersectionality


Further Updates:


  • To enhance their name and network change further, they also held an experience day. This gave a flavour of what true ethnicity diversity looks like and an opportunity for everyone in the business to learn more about the network and people.
  • They also collaborated internally across, Disability and Neurodiversity, Family, LGBT+, Women’s & Social mobility networks. 
  • They have new network Sponsors who will aim to support structural change and support them in elevating their colleagues.
  • During Black Inclusion Week they held an educational outreach day for forty Ethnically Diverse local school children.


Follow Auto Traders’ Lead: Become a Trailblazer


If your organisation is driving change for Race Equality and you can demonstrate impact, endorsement from ethnic background employees and share future plans; register your interest for the next round of trailblazers. 

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