I think it’s time the logistics sector acknowledged it has a gender problem…
Always looking ahead, in the second quarter of this year I’ll start working on the Logistics Manager Top 50 – looking at not just the largest, but fastest growing third-party logistics providers in the UK.
It’s an involved task, benchmarking turnover and profit performance of disparate businesses. There are endless sub-divisions and business units to account for. But the result is exclusive research that you can only find in the pages of Logistics Manager.
What is not part of the data set though is a measure of the people involved. In particularly the gender of employees at the most senior of levels.
Frankly, can you name a single female chief executive or managing director of a major logistics company in the UK? There was Carole Walker at Hermes until she retired. TNTs MD in the UK was Marianne Culver for a while… after that I’m struggling, so please do contact me if I’ve missed anyone off.
In 2020 that’s just as unacceptable as, say…. No woman being nominated for Best Director at the Oscars (despite her film being shortlisted for Best Picture). That gets all the headlines in national media. The absence of female leadership in logistics does not (except for our January 2020 feature on the skills gap in logistics).
While the arguments and debates about representation, both now and in the future, can continue – the problem we face right at this moment is an absence of role-models at board level.
Representation is vital. According to the KPMG Women’s Leadership Study published last year 86% of women reported that when they see more women in leadership, they are encouraged they can get there themselves.
This level of discouragement trickles down. Look at schools… more women will enter the sector if they see visible role-models and leaders of business in logistics. They will aspire to a career in logistics… to be successful in business.
It’s about time the logistics sector fronted up the absence of female voices. The first stage of addressing a problem is accepting that you have one.
Christopher Walton, Editor, Logistics Manager