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Women in Supply Chains Initiative backed at summit

ALC Summit tackles workplace diversity concerns as new industry-led program plans to attract more women to non-traditional roles


The subject of workplace diversity and gender imbalance in the transport and logistics sector was in discussion during the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) Summit in Sydney last Thursday.

ALC’s second Diversity & Inclusion Summit was a chance for over 100 professionals to discuss identify strategies to attract more women to join the industry.

Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC’s) executive general manager people Jenny McAuliffe underlined the need for the industry to create effective cross-industry partnerships to attract, retain and support a more diverse workforce.

“Statistics show women are seriously underrepresented in senior management roles, board positions and more generally across the wider transport and logistics workforce,” she said.

McAuliffe, who is current chair of ALC’s People Committee, said women make up only around a fifth of the workforce in transport, postal and warehousing sector and it was time to address the issue by inviting fresh talent and diverse skills in the industry.

ALC highlighted Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) figures that show women represent only 26 per cent of employees in the T&L sector, with a pay gap of 21.4 per cent compared to their male counterparts.

ALC MD Michael Kilgariff said it is important to bridge the gender gap to ensure the industry is able to thrive in the future.

“As an industry, we need to ensure men and women, young people and Indigenous Australians have access to the same opportunities, so we can build a stronger, more prosperous and more innovative industry,” Kilgariff said.

“To address this, a proposal was put to the Summit for a ‘Women in Supply Chains Initiative’ – a new industry-led program to build community understanding, support education and training, and to attract more women to operations and management roles,” the ALC stated.

The logistics body plans to consider a three-year pilot program that “aims to increase the visibility of the industry, empower women to join the industry, and to actively encourage dialogue between participants”.

The president of the Human Rights Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs, said in her keynote speech that even a 6 per cent increase in the number of women in the paid workforce could expand the Australian economy by $25 billion a year.

Representatives of the ARTC, Brookfield Rail and Clontarf Foundation talked about recent efforts to boost workplace opportunities for both women and men.

ARTC and Brookfield Rail discussed how their female recruitment project helped increase the number of women working in track maintenance roles through the use of social media to attract more women to apply for frontline roles in both organisations.

ARTC said the campaign helped the company increase its overall female workforce from 17 per cent to 19 per cent, with 9.6 per cent of female employees engaged in non-traditional roles within its Hunter Valley operations.

Former footballer and coach Gerard Neesham talked about Clontarf Foundation’s partnership with companies like Qube to help provide education, life skills and employment opportunities to young Aboriginals.

Neesham is the current CEO of Clontarf Foundation.

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