Despite the fact that there has been an incredible rise of women in the business world, the logistic sector is one of the sectors that remains male dominated. Only one to two percent of the workforce in the world’s logistics sectors are women, although 125 million people work in this industry.
Although this statistic is less dramatic in the UK, it still remains that less than a quarter of the 1.5million within the logistics industry are female, according to the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).
As we all know, the logistics sector plays a crucial role in the world economy. The improvements in the logistics sector, as far as increasing the women workforce, is therefore an important component in the ongoing improvements.
In recent years, some major studies have demonstrated that having more female leaders including board members, managers and supervisors leads to better business outcomes. Examples of this include higher levels of productivity, safety and improved financial returns, as referenced in the 2009 Women in Supply Chain report.
This insight was supported by the PWC Transportation report, which stated that companies with the most women board directors outperformed those with the least by 16% in return on sales, and by 26% in return on invested capital. These studies make a compelling business case for gender diversity and inclusion.
So if there are such strong evidence that women improve performance, why are we struggling to bring women into the logistics industry and what can be done to help resolve this?
The transport and logistics industry is typically described as a ‘non-traditional’ employment pathway for women and suffers from poor perceptions of its career opportunities for women. Addressing perceptions that the logistics industry is a career option for all is a real challenge as it’s hard to escape the fact that roles can involve moving and lifting.
We need to focus on the fact that logistics is applicable to every industry and business sector in the world – retail, life sciences, fashion, technology, construction, transport and so on. This means that in addition to needing drivers and warehouse operatives, there’s also a requirement for business development and customer-facing personnel.
Encouragingly, several market developments are creating viable opportunities to include women in ‘non-traditional’ roles in the local and global industry. These include advances in technology such as automatic gearboxes and hydraulic lifting equipment, the retirement of existing workers, increasing levels of education and improved technical training among new entrants in the workforce.
For more information on Women in Logistics, visit the group online (aptly named Women in Logistics!) who will be delivering performance workshops at the group’s annual conference this year. The organisation, which aims to support the careers of women in logistics, now has more than 3,500 members, and will hold its AGM and annual conference on Friday, 25th November at Cranfield University in Bedfordshire.
For more information on how you can join Barnes Logistics, visit our website or give us a call on 0161 684 3070.