President Trump and Prime Minister Trudeau certainly have a lot of important issues to talk about during their first meeting. So I was pleasantly surprised, and encouraged, to read that one of the highlights is a roundtable with women business leaders discussing the advancement of women entrepreneurs and executives.
Trucking HR Canada flagged the lack of women in the trucking workforce as an issue back in 2014, when our national advisory committee was formed. The committee is led by 18 accomplished and dedicated women (and one man), including company presidents, senior managers, and HR leaders.
We came together with a common vision to support trucking employers in the recruitment and retention of more women. With women comprising 48% of the Canadian labor force, it is a group simply too big to ignore.
We also cannot ignore the numbers. In trucking, women make up:
- 3% of truck drivers
- 3% of mechanics, transport trailer technicians, and cargo workers
- 11% of managerial staff
- 13% of parts technicians
- 18% of dispatchers
- 25% of freight claims, safety, and loss prevention specialists
Getting more women in the workforce is a serious business issue.
In the end, progress will be marked when we see more women taking hold of economic opportunities and flourishing in key positions.
For now, as I watch and listen keenly to the Trump and Trudeau roundtable on the matter, I reflect on our own progress to date:
- Resources that matter
Responding to a survey of more than 600 people, the Women with Drive initiative is focused on resources that matter, especially on mentorship programs for women in trucking. Guided by our action plan, we developed a mentorship toolbox, an inventory of relevant programs, and compiled best practices. All of which are available as free downloads on our website.
- Networking for Women
From the Alberta Motor Transport Association hosting the first Western Women with Drive event this year on May 10 to a women’s initiative from the Trucking Human Resource Sector Council Atlantic group in the East, women and men from across the country are coming together to learn and do more.
Another event worth mentioning is the hugely successful women’s networking luncheon put on by the Toronto Transportation Club each spring. It started in 2013, and the attendance grows more each year.
Our own third annual Women with Drive Leadership Summit, taking place March 2 this year in Toronto, has emerged as a key learning and networking event. We know it is not just the trucking industry in Canada that is affected—women in the trucking workforce is a global concern as well, which led to us having our first-ever international panel. We have leading women from Australia, Denmark, England, New Zealand, and Sweden.
- Growing Attention Given to Opportunities for Women
It is clear that trucking has to compete with other industries for talent so we continue to publicize opportunities for women. As one of the country’s largest employers, opportunities are plentiful.
The CBC has done three features on the need for women truck drivers. The BBC, National Post, and CNBC have all covered women in trucking. Close to 2,000 people have watched our own women in trucking career promoting video. The list goes on.
And the work continues. And it is refreshing to know we will not be alone.
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