Features & Interviews

Women in transport: What firms are doing to encourage more female workers

16 March 2023 #Features & Interviews

Earlier this month, Britain’s CV sector joined in celebration of International Women’s Day, a global event to highlight the achievements of women, promote equality and raise awareness about discrimination.

To mark the event, businesses in the transport sector have been highlighting the variety of roles available in the industry, ranging from drivers and engineers to directors and service advisers, encouraging more women to consider it as an employment option.

Amelia Crump, Area Sales Manager for Northern England and North Wales at Pelican Engineering, which distributes Yutong electric buses in the UK, said the company has given her the opportunity to work in different areas of the business and given her an excellent overview of operations.

“It’s so important to encourage more women into the transport industry,” she said. “Women make up 47% of the UK workforce, yet currently only 20% of workers in transport are women.

“This needs to change. Women can see things from a different perspective, which will help drive innovation and encourage positive change.”

Pallet network Palletways UK has seen a 25% year-on-year increase in female employees.

There were 99 female employees working at Palletways in 2021 and this rose by almost a quarter to 124 in 2022 as women increasingly see the sector as offering an appealing career path.

Some 28% of its female workforce is in entry level roles, while 24% are in intermediary positions, 40% are in managerial roles, 2% are in driver roles and 4% are directors or heads of departments.

Jennifer Mosley-Bradley, Head of HR for Palletways UK, said: “There is no doubt that women are under-represented in this sector which is why we have an awareness drive to bring more women into the logistics industry.

“We are proud to say that our efforts are really paying dividends with such a massive year-on-year increase in female employees and we will continue to work hard to attract even more women into this exciting sector.”

Mosley-Bradley added that the initial hurdle is often getting women to consider a career in logistics in the first place which is why the organisation is working hard to correct this gender imbalance.

“We increasingly find that women are intrigued by what a career in logistics could offer them and once they come on board they find that there is a world of opportunities that they never even knew existed”, she said.

Meanwhile, bus operator Stagecoach Manchester has launched a new campaign, Engineering Your Future, to encourage more women to pursue a career in engineering.

Across Greater Manchester, Stagecoach has 130 skilled engineers that ensure its vehicles are maintained and able to meet the demand for travel every day.

However, only 3.1% of its skilled engineer workforce are women.

The Engineering Your Future campaign features three of Stagecoach Manchester’s engineers, Karen, Jess and Chelsea, who discuss how they began their career in engineering and their current role.

The campaign will be used to help promote opportunities through Stagecoach’s engineering apprentice programme and to encourage more women to apply.

Many of Stagecoach Manchester’s apprentices have gone on to become managers and engineering directors after completing their studies and going into employment with the company.

Stagecoach has set targets of achieving 40% of women in leadership roles by 2026.

In the past 12 months, its employee-led inclusion networks have led on developing new family-friendly policies surrounding topics such as miscarriage, maternity, paternity and adoption leave.

Rebecca Rathore, Operations Director at Stagecoach Manchester, said: “Women have long been underrepresented in engineering, especially in the transport sector. Stagecoach Manchester is committed to changing that and helping women achieve their full potential.

“Working in public transport is enjoyable and rewarding and our depot teams are supportive and friendly places to work.”

Throughout this month, XPO Logistics has held a series of internal structured group discussions, where women in the company have shared insights into what makes them successful in their roles and proud about their careers.

In addition, the company announced it will continue with its Female Drivers Forums, which started in the UK in 2022, giving women an opportunity to speak with leadership and suggest ways to enhance their work experience.

Luis Gomez, XPO President, Europe, said: “We are committed to using our leadership positions in Europe to connect as many women as possible to rewarding careers.

“The most compelling way to do this is to hear from the women themselves – our female drivers, site operators and business managers – and we will continue to ensure that they have a powerful voice in our culture.”

The world of logistics has traditionally been seen as a male-dominated industry, so it is important to ensure that as many women as possible recognise it as a pathway for a rewarding and fulfilling career.

Moreover, the industry offers excellent opportunities for progression, as well as a working schedule that can fit around other commitments, such as family life and for those returning to work after a career break.

Jonas Keat, Policy Advisor for Skills at Logistics UK, said: “With a huge range of roles on offer, from warehousing to driving, marketing to management, logistics has a career for everyone, but many have never considered our sector as a potential employer.

“Logistics is fast paced and involved in every part of the economy, with great pay and opportunities for progression, as well as working patterns which can be tailored to accommodate family commitments for women of all ages.”

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