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The numbers tell an unflattering story


As those of you who read this column regularly have come to know, I like numbers. Why? Because they point to the truth and serve as a call to action.

One of the areas where “the numbers” should be acting as a call to immediate action is the under representation of women in trucking at all levels. Actually this isn’t an issue just for the trucking industry; the under representation of women is a reality across the entire supply chain.

The people that manage the freight you haul and who purchase the services you provide are predominantly male too. It’s just that in trucking the under representation of women is particularly acute.

Consider that women make up just:

• 3% of truck drivers

• 3% of mechanics, transport trailer technicians, and cargo workers

• 11% of managerial staff

• 25% of freight claims and safety, and loss prevention specialists

• 18% of dispatchers

• 13% of parts technicians

Now consider that the national representation of women in the Canadian workforce is 48% and you quickly see how far behind we’ve fallen. Considering we are facing a growing number of retirements in the years ahead and are having one heck of a time trying to attract young people to our industry, can we afford to keep missing the boat on attracting nearly half of the continent’s source of human capital, leadership and ingenuity?

There is a huge economic opportunity for women to find careers in trucking and in so doing help the industry address its talent shortage.

But don’t expect them to come running just because the jobs are there. Why? Because our industry carries the stigma of being male-centric.

A couple of years ago Deloitte surveyed more than 600 women working in manufacturing, another industry struggling to attract female candidates.

Even though they were working in manufacturing,  only one in five thought manufacturing was doing a good job of representing itself to women. Sound familiar?

Not only was manufacturing doing a poor job of attracting women but women weren’t particularly keen to consider manufacturing as an option.

The survey also found that more than half the women surveyed attributed the lack of interest among females to work in manufacturing to a perception of male bias that starts at the very top where “Common thought has long since been leadership equals male.” Sound like an industry you know?

Like manufacturing, our industry faces an uphill battle in attracting women.

But it has already taken the first step. Women with Drive is Trucking HR Canada’s national project to promote women in freight transportation. I was at its launch last year and I’m looking forward to its 2015 Leadership Summit, scheduled for March 5 at the Sheraton Toronto Airport Hotel.

To find out more, and to register, go to www.truckinghr.com.


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