Monday, March 11, 2013

Programme to Encourage Freight and Logistics Operators Utilise More Women Properly

Too Much Real Talent Being Underused, Wasted or Simply Undiscovered
Shipping News Feature

UK – As a direct response to a roundtable discussion that took place one morning last year, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) and everywoman have joined forces to create an industry wide gender diversity programme, the FTA everywoman Accelerate Programme. The programme, which was announced on International Women’s Day, supports all operators in the desire to welcome a wider talent pool into the industry. With just 24% of the Transport and Logistics workforce being female, both organisations are united in their commitment to address this talent deficit.

During a debate in 2012 when the FTA and everywoman decided on a joint cooperation, senior industry leaders identified 4 main obstacles in achieving a more inclusive workforce. These were: the image of the industry not being conducive to attracting a young talent pool fresh from formal education; a lack of female role models in the industry; how to effectively communicate the importance and business benefits of a diverse workforce to everyone in all levels of a company; and how to provide opportunities for personal development and therefore enhance the retention of the female talent pool.

The collaborators say that the Accelerate Programme is the only scheme of its type in the transport and logistics industry focused on building a robust and diverse talent pipeline. The programme is for organisations and operators of all sizes, and can be tailored to ensure it is in line with organisation’s gender balance aspirations and works alongside any internal activities. Maxine Benson MBE, co-founder of everywoman said:

“We took away the input that we had from the roundtable discussion last year and said, ‘what are the challenges that we need to start addressing’. There is an image problem and when we did research with women who were working in the transport and logistics industry, less than 10% had actually chosen a career there, they had found themselves there by accident. Once they got into the industry, they thrived, they could bring their talents to it and they were good at it, but they weren’t actually consciously choosing it.

“We need to change that as we are missing out on a huge talent pool, so we have been working together [with the FTA] to put together a programme of activities that encompasses all that we currently do [which] can be instigated and rolled out throughout organisations whether they are big or small, to help unlock the talents of all of their women to make sure they are realising their full potential, to mobilise them [not only] internally in their organisations but externally as ambassadors and role models for the industry.

“The Accelerate Programme is something that we have developed in direct response to what the industry is telling us it needs. We are incredibly excited about it.”

The idea is to make available access to the various services that everywoman provides to support the female workforce, including: the everywomanNetwork – an online personal development tool and the everywomanClub, where senior level women in organisations and successful entrepreneurs connect, shape business and influence change for the advancement of all women in business. In addition to this, companies can also get involved in everywoman in Transport and Logistics Leadership Academies, which support the development of female talent as well as the FTA everywoman in Transport & Logistics Awards – which every year uncover female role models within the industry.

A discussion between Maxine Benson and FTA boss Theo de Pencier explaining how the two groups decided on their collaboration can be seen HERE.

Photo: As this picture shows, there is no role women cannot perform equally as well as men.