WOMEN IN THE TRANSPORT AND LOGISTICS WORKFORCE
The industry is characterised by immense diversity in types of businesses and occupations. However, this diversity currently doesn’t translate to the workforce demographics. The Transport and Logistics Industry is described as being a ‘non-traditional’ employment pathway for women, as the majority of employees are men and there is a perception that most work undertaken is stereotypically ‘masculine’.
Women are predominately employed in support related roles such as administration, human resources, procurement and finance. The most common managerial positions undertaken by women are found in the communications, human resources, business development as well as quality and risk management areas (WISC, page 8).
Women in South Australia make up only 18.7% of the Transport, Postal and Warehousing sector in the state, but worryingly this number has dropped from 21.7% in 2008 (SAFC, 2013).
However, advancements in technology are changing the employment opportunities for women, with job roles that were once considered impractical or too dangerous now a viable option. For example, automatic gearboxes and hydraulic lifting equipment allow women to drive large trucks and carry out materials-handling tasks that would have once been considered ‘too heavy’.
Workforce surveys also show that the female transport and logistics employees have, on average, higher education levels than their male counterparts, with 18.3 percent achieving a diploma or higher, compared with 11.7 percent of males (WISC, page 13). This demonstrates that women have the desire, skills and knowledge to meet job role requirements in the changing and advancing industry.
What is possibly the biggest issue for women in Transport and Logistics Australia wide is pay discrimination. In 1984 there was a 17.9% gender pay gap benefiting men. But by 2009 instead of closing, the pay gap had actually increased to 21.5%. While the pay gap has fallen over the last 5 years, with a gap of 16.1% between November 2013 and May 2014, this is still higher than the current overall industry pay gap of 15.2%.