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Hiring more women would tackle ‘workforce crisis’ in haulage sector

05 March 2021
More needs to be done to encourage women to pursue a career in transport and logistics, says Returnloads
More needs to be done to encourage women to pursue a career in transport and logistics, says Returnloads

Only 20% of the transport and logistics workforce is female, which is less than half the average of 47% across the entire UK workforce, reports freight/transport exchange website Returnloads.

The figure is “even more damning” for women in land transport, at only 14%, while only 1% of truck drivers are women, says Returnloads.

Redressing this imbalance would help tackle a “workforce crisis” facing the transport and haulage sector, says the company. “Encouraging women to pursue a rewarding career in the industry is vital not only in making it an equal playing field, but it may be the key to replacing an ageing workforce.”

It cites research by the Road Haulage Association, which found that the average age of truck drivers is 57. “What’s more, 25% of the workforce is expected to retire in the next 10 years,” says Returnloads. “This, combined with over 80,000 EU workers leaving the UK workforce, will worsen an existing driver shortage. So if you have owner driver jobs available, you need to look into new ways of attracting drivers.”

Transport and haulage providers must do better in terms of gender equality, argues Returnloads. “These sectors also have an image of a ‘boy’s club’. Not only are women underrepresented, but there’s a feeling they’re unwelcome. Knowing a workforce is 80% men is enough to put aspiring young women off.”

Logistics companies should partner with organisations such as Women in Transport and the CILT’s Women in Logistics & Transport project, says Returnloads. “Equally, your existing female employees can get involved in networking events, deliver presentations, and take part in mentoring to further encourage women to pursue a career in transport and logistics.”

There are more women in back office, logistics, and warehousing roles compared with drivers, notes Returnloads. “If you have women in senior positions in your business, it’s critical to involve them in decisions regarding training and recruitment. They’ll be able to offer a perspective that you simply won’t get from men who are well-established in the sector.”

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