Women In Logistics: How To Attract Female Talent To The Industry
With the logistics industry still behind in terms of diversity, Yvonne Noble, Operations Manager at Balloon One, shares her insight into what companies can do to encourage more women to apply for roles in logistics.
Research suggests that a higher level of diversity within an organisation contributes to higher financial returns and performance. Yet, according to recent research, 85% of the logistics workforce is made up of male employees, and 70% of companies even admit to paying men higher salaries compared to women, so there’s still a lot of work to be done.
On a smaller scale, if you create a more diverse and inclusive company culture, you’ll enhance your business’ ability to attract, recruit, and retain the best possible talent. Below are my tips for attracting more female talent.
Start campaigning early
Sourcing female talent starts with inspiring girls to pursue a career in logistics from a young age. You can preserve the future talent pipeline by helping to encourage them to take STEM subjects at school.
STEM subjects equip young people with many of the skills they need to succeed in logistics, from data analysis to problem solving. While on the rise, girls are still less likely to take STEM subjects like science and maths at GCSE, as well as at A-Level.
So, we need to establish a more balanced proportion at school level, which can be achieved by planning and hosting outreach programs and events. You can do this alone or by teaming up with an organisation such as STEMettes who specialise in these experiences.
Gen Z are more likely to consider STEM career paths than millennials or boomers (Best Colleges), so you should also work on attracting female talent through apprenticeships that target this generation, who are currently school leavers and recent graduates.
If you don’t have an apprenticeship scheme in place, develop one and attend careers fairs at schools and colleges to engage with potential candidates early on. That way, you can hire more female candidates straight out of education rather than having to convince an older generation to switch careers.
Change perceptions of the industry
For some industries like logistics and warehousing, out-of-date perceptions can be a big obstacle to overcome if you want to attract a more diverse range of talent. That’s why it’s important to highlight the varied roles within logistics to show there’s a job to suit every strength and weakness — from management to planning and operations — in your marketing.
It’s also important to show that there are plenty of opportunities for development and progression within the industry, and that roles in logistics can make you a desirable candidate in careers up and down the supply chain. So, women who learn key transferrable skills in logistics can move on to anything from manufacturing to buying roles later on.
Some women may also think they won’t be able to physically ‘keep up’ with some of their male colleagues, particularly if they’re working at a warehouse operative level, for example. So, it’s worth making it clear that modern warehouses are full of high-tech machinery and state-of-the-art software to improve productivity and efficiency, and that a high level of physical strength isn’t necessarily important.
Get the hiring process right
Word travels fast, and women will be less likely to apply for a role in logistics if the hiring process puts them off. It’s important to review your job profiles and descriptions to get rid of gendered language that could make them feel the position isn’t for them. Try to avoid using aggressive or competitive language in your adverts, such as “lead”, “analyse”, and “confident”, and favour words like “support”, “understanding” and “responsible” instead.
Mentioning an inclusive culture and offering flexible working schedules is a must for diverse companies, as they are far more appealing to candidates both male and female. Plus, a good work/life balance can have an amazingly positive impact on productivity and staff retention, so you’ll benefit from these perks too.
It will also help to increase the visibility of women in your workplace, including having female staff present in the interview to demonstrate the diversity at your company and help put candidates at ease. This will also prove useful should the candidate have any gender-specific questions, as the woman interviewing will be able to provide valuable insight.
Then, once you’ve hired a new female member of staff, make sure she has access to female mentors and role models within your company who can show her the ropes.
Hiring more women can be a challenge if you aren’t receiving enough applications. The tips in this guide can help you attract more women to your logistics company, so the industry can benefit from a more diverse range of talent.
Yvonne Smith is Operations Manager at the supply chain technology consultancy, Balloon One. Having been with the company since 2006, when it was a fraction of its current size, Yvonne has sat on the management team since 2012. She has leveraged her career in administrative roles to bring in both company-wide and functional process improvements. Whilst managing the Service team, Yvonne was credited with driving customer satisfaction to new levels.
If you’re looking for a job or star candidate within the Supply Chain, Procurement or Logistics industry, our ASC Connections team go the extra mile. You can find out more about what we do here.
Rebecca Crowther is a Marketing Executive for ASC Connections. Her love for writing started when she was young. In her current role, she loves creating content to support candidates on their career journey and help clients hire talented indviduals.