Transport & Logistics Industry Committed to Attracting and Retaining More Women
For the second year, women working in middle management, and future leaders in organisations within the transport and logistics industry shared what they think is standing between them and their career goals in a survey conducted at the second annual everywoman in Transport & Logistics Leadership Academy.
The top three factors cited as having an adverse effect on their career advancement were: lack of role models (28%), the ability to work flexibly (20%) and the key challenge, cited by 31%, was access to influential mentors.
Attendees at this year’s Academy, held in partnership with the Freight Transport Association and the National Skills Academy for Logistics, represented a cross section of the industry from a wide range of companies including MAN Bus & Truck; Asda; CEVA Logistics; DHL; TNT; Royal Mail and Wincanton.
On a positive note, when comparing the results of this year’s Academy research with those of 2011, there was a marked increase in the number of women who felt their career aspirations could be fulfilled in the transport and logistics industry, with 94% compared with 83% in 2011, saying they believed the industry offered them this opportunity. And yet, 65% of those women had not consciously chosen a career in the industry, they had found themselves working in it either by chance (23%) or accidentally through career progression (42%). Only 4% of the Academy attendees said they had actively chosen the transport & logistics route.
Communicating Opportunities to the Wider Female Workforce
Commenting on the findings, Maxine Benson MBE co-founder of everywoman says: “Transport & Logistics is an industry that women find offers a rewarding and varied career, once they are employed in it. And yet awareness of the opportunities it offers is low and an area we need to focus on if we want to ensure more women bring their talents to it.” And it seems women in the industry agree, with 79% of Academy delegates saying that the industry doesn’t do enough to attract female talent.
“The good news is that industry leaders are aware of this and, importantly, are committed to do more to change it,” says Benson. “At a roundtable discussion held prior to this year’s everywoman in Transport & Logistics Awards, senior executives from DHL; TNT; Royal Mail; CEVA Logistics and FTA agreed the industry has work to do in communicating the opportunities to the wider female workforce, graduates and girls in school.” Theo de Pencier, FTA Chief Executive commented, “The key for our industry is to be able to access a wider talent pool to be able to meet its need for good quality staff in whichever roles it needs to fill.” He also pointed out that the industry should keep focused on the goal, adding, “We’ve got to keep at it and suddenly three years later we’ll find attitudes have changed.”
With an agreement from Roundtable attendees to not only continue the conversation but also commit to proactively do more to position the industry as one where women can fulfil their career ambitions, Benson believes we will continue to see positive change. “Graduate programmes, enhancing the image of the sector to appeal to more women, as well as continuing to uncover and promote more role models were all seen as essential steps towards this goal. We will continue to work with those forward thinking companies committed to encouraging more women to the industry. The FTA everywoman in Transport & Logistics Awards and the Leadership Academy have a key role to play in addressing some of the challenges.”
With nominations for the 2013 FTA everywoman in Transport & Logistics Awards opening on 3 December, companies are encouraged to start considering which of their female employees they want to put forward as role models, not just to represent their company, but also the industry.
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