Encouraging industry diversity

Across Australia’s transport and logistics industry, women in managerial positions statistically fall behind all other sectors. Globally, Australia ranks poorly when compared to other western countries, according to figures provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

It is clear that there needs to be a greater focus by industry and government to encourage, support and retain women in the industry. We need to ensure that the logistics industry has the best possible talent working across all parts of the supply chain.

It is an issue that the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) is determined to take a leadership role on.

I was excited, therefore, to announce in June that the ALC is expanding its policy focus to include the issue of ‘People’ in its future work program.

As a first step, ALC will be organising the first ‘Women in Logistics’ Summit in Melbourne on 25 November 2015 at the Pullman on the Park, Melbourne.

The Women in Logistics Summit reflects ALC’s commitment to encouraging greater diversity within the logistics industry.

The Summit will discuss and map a series of strategies ALC will adopt to encourage more women into the industry, to widen the recruitment pool and to help bring a new perspective to the industry.

Over the coming months, ALC’s new ‘People Committee’ will help devise the Summit’s program to map out the agenda and to secure a wide cross section of speakers from both within and outside the logistics industry.

A number of studies have looked at some of the reasons behind Australia’s traditionally low numbers of women in the transport and logistics workforce. These include issues relating to recruitment strategies, training and education, family friendly workplaces, workplace culture and networking.

Achieving a higher number of women in senior executive positions is also a challenge not confined to the logistics industry. It is estimated that only around 10 per cent of women are represented at the Senior Executive level of the top ASX200 companies.

I hope our inaugural ‘Women in Logistics Summit’ will identify a number of objectives and actions that we as an industry can undertake to address this and other issues.

Then, in 2016, ALC will host a ‘Young Guns in Logistics Conference’ to develop strategies aimed at boosting the numbers, and fostering professional development of young people working in the logistics sector.

I am personally proud and excited that ALC has included this issue in its policy platform. The issue of ‘People’ will join ALC’s four other strategic policy areas of Infrastructure, Regulation, Technology and Supply Chain Safety. Specifically, ALC will work to:

• Position the logistics industry with the broader community as the career of choice;
• Communicate with industry and government to shape a positive community perception of the logistics industry;
• Collaborate with the logistics industry, government and the community to encourage recognition of the logistics industry as a significant employer and economic contributor;
• Organise and facilitate an annual ‘Women in Logistics Summit’ and ‘Young Guns in Logistics Conference’.

This organisational change reflects my strongly held belief that all organisations need to constantly evolve. Constant change and organisational evolution should be embraced and encouraged to ensure we are focussing on the things that matter.

I look forward to keeping you informed about planning for the Summit in upcoming editions of Prime Mover.

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