ALC summit told urgent action needed on diversity

By: Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi

ALC summit speakers call for a cultural shift towards greater gender diversity in the industry

ALC summit told urgent action needed on diversity
ALC People Committee Chair Alex Badenoch (left) with Toll Holdings non-executive director Nicola Wakefield Evans.


With only 13 per cent of the transport and logistics industry being women, urgent action is needed to address gender diversity, a summit was told.

Employment within the industry has grown by 28 per cent in the last decade but the number of women has increased by a mere per cent.

Leaders from the country’s forward-thinking logistics companies got together last week at the Australian Logistics Council’s Diversity & Inclusion Summit, sharing their practical initiatives to address gender imbalance, with Toll Holdings non-executive director Nicola Wakefield Evans calling on operators to change the industry’s perception.

"We are the only group that is growing in workforce participation; workforce participation in Australia is actually dropping because of our ageing workforce and there are three groups of potential workers that can still bring in to the workforce to keep our workforce participation up; women, people between the ages of 50 and 70 and unemployed young men.

"If you bring more of that group into the Australian workforce and into the industry as big as the transport and logistics, you’re going to make a big impact economically."

She wants women shifted from administration roles into operations, saying companies should invest in training.

"I was shocked at the cost and time it takes to get heavy vehicle licence in this country," she says.

"There are specific sporting training programs for women and I think we have to do the same thing for trucks; we have to have programs where we are specifically training women because once you say ‘we will train you, we will help you get your licence and we will push you through TAFE’, you’ll get more on board.

"I’ve had a look at the top logistics companies and you really can’t find a lot of stories about gender diversity and inclusiveness on their websites," she adds.

"We have to change that; we have to change the way leaders talk about gender and inclusiveness and diversity; once you start doing that you start to quite quickly change perception."

Toll managing director Brian Kruger believes gender equity is the key to a right culture.

"Toll runs 27 business units and we can measure gender equity through financial performance," Kruger says.

"You will not believe the correlation between those parts of our business that do better on gender equity and their performance financially, the correlation between safety performance and business performance across our business is just amazing, it’s a critical driver.

"We’ve got some talented women in our organisation who I don’t think are able to be the best they can be in the environment we’ve got in Toll at the moment.

"One of our jobs as leaders is to create an environment where all of our people can be the best they can be; it’s about making sure we’ve got room for our female leaders to grow."

Read the full story in the January edition of ATN


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