Industry challenges could increase opportunities for women
26 June 2018
Author: Sean Keywood
Women have been hailed as key to the future success of companies involved in mobility - and disruptions such as Brexit and new technology could help them progress. Sean Keywood reports.
Ensuring women are properly represented in transport leadership roles is key to the future of the sector - and a rapidly changing business environment could provide opportunities for them, according to speakers at a recent event held to celebrate women's success.
Those attending the FTA (Freight Transport Association) Everywoman in Transport and Logistics Awards, held at the London Marriott Hotel, heard that although progress was being made in securing equal representation, there is still much to be done.
Offering a reason for hope, co-founder of Everywoman Karen Gill said more opportunities for women could be created by current uncertainty in the sector over issues such as Brexit.
She said, "That we're living in challenging economic times obviously goes without saying, and there are still so many unknowns around what Brexit really means for the UK, but with each new challenge comes fresh opportunity, and in the face of so much uncertainty, the transport and logistics sector is really responding with vigour and resilience.
"Currently, women occupy only 22% of the sector's job roles, but with so much change around, many more will have the opportunity to utilise their skills here.
"As they grow their careers, they in turn will help the industry's gender pay gap, which is around 6%.
"We're delighted so many of our partners are really on board with our mission and are hard at work to find innovative solutions to gender dynamics in their businesses."
Fellow Everywoman co-founder Maxine Benson said new technology could also help create opportunities for women.
She said, "Transport and logistics is increasingly embracing and investing in the use of innovations such as the internet of things, collaboration tools, 3D printing and drone technology.
"Through the rise of technology, the industry can reimagine itself bigger and better than ever before.
"Technology has the power to accelerate the shift to a more diverse industry sector, and while artificial intelligence will replace many roles, experts predict a premium on human skills like emotional intelligence, communication and people management - skills that women have in abundance."
The keynote speech at the event was given by Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling, who said that although the success of the awards - now in their 11th year - made it clear progress had been made in the industry, there was still a long way to go.
He said, "It's more essential than ever that we celebrate the inspiring women who provide leadership in the transport sector, and that the mentoring that can bring the next generation in happens as well. It's all an important part of shifting attitudes, tackling prejudice and highlighting those role models.
"It's also just an important part of making sure we've got a really successful transport and logistics sector for the future."
Grayling said companies with diverse workforces saw many benefits.
"If you have a diverse workforce, you have a wider range of skills in your company, you're more innovative, you're more profitable, you harness the skills and potential of the whole population," he said.
"So it's not just about helping more women reach their full potential; it actually builds a better, smarter, stronger sector, and a better, smarter, stronger economy."
Grayling added that having more female leaders was vital.
"I think it's particularly important talented women are able to reach senior positions where they can have the most influence, where they can have that input on the next generation and really leave a legacy.
"One of recruiting, training and promoting women in equal competition with men, where there is that genuine opportunity for a young woman looking to a potential future career where you know you can succeed and you can achieve."
FTA Everywoman award winners
Freight Award - Above and Beyond:
Kate Turner, DB Cargo UK
Freight Award - Leader:
Keely Priestman, Diamond Distribution
Passenger Award - Above and Beyond:
Nikki Sohal, Heathrow Express
Passenger Award - Leader:
Liz Chandler, Merseytravel
Infrastructure Award - Above and Beyond:
Deborah Pye, Walmart
Infrastructure Award - Leader:
Kayleigh Wilson, DHL
Supply Chain Award - Above and Beyond:
June Jones, Asda
Supply Chain Award - Leader:
Faye Calland, TNT
Warehousing Award - Above and Beyond:
Clare Maclauchlan, Co-op
Warehousing Award - Leader:
Sharon Hammond, Asda
Male Agent of Change Award:
Wayne Jay, Royal Mail
Industry Champion Award:
Harriet Glen, Transport for London
Woman of the Year Award:
Anna Delvecchio, Amey RDG