Thursday, August 9, 2012

Stand Up Ladies of Freight and Logistics and be Counted (and Praised)

Where are the Industry's Superwomen - and Why Aren't there More of Them?
Shipping News Feature

UK – Back in June attendees at this year’s everywoman in Transport and Logistics Leadership Academy, held in partnership with the Freight Transport Association (FTA) and the National Skills Academy for Logistics (NSAL), represented a cross section of the industry from a wide range of companies including MAN Truck & Bus, Asda and Wincanton. Women working in the industry shared what they think is standing between them and their career goals in a survey conducted during the event.

The top three factors affecting females in the workplace were access to influential mentors as cited by 31% of women polled whilst 28% of felt that a lack of role models is hindering their career advancement opportunities with 20% feeling that the ability to work flexibly has an adverse effect. There was a positive note, with an overall increase in the number of women who felt their career aspirations could be fulfilled in the transport and logistics industry. 94% of women, compared with 83% in 2011, said they believed the industry offered them this opportunity.

Despite this 65% of those women had not consciously chosen a career in the industry. 23% said they had found themselves working in it either by chance and 42% said they accidentally started working in the industry through career progression. Only 4% of the Academy attendees said they had actively chosen the transport & logistics route. Maxine Benson MBE co-founder of everywoman commented:

“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. The good news is that industry leaders are aware of this and, importantly, are committed to do more to change it.

“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 the FTA agreed the industry has work to do in communicating the opportunities to the wider female workforce, graduates and girls in school.”

It would seem women in the industry agree, with 79% of Academy delegates agreeing with this analysis prompting 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.

The FTA Chief Executive, Theo de Pencier, agreed saying that the key for the 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 focussed on the goal, and suddenly three years later, attitudes will have changed. Maxine Benson also believes the industry will continue to see positive change. She continued:

“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 3rd 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 as a whole.