Transport and logistics has always been seen to be a man’s job, but in this day and age is this an outdated idea? Yes!, according to a 2017 survey from Every Woman on the subject. According to their findings, women working in this ever-growing industry have been drawn to the job for a variety of reasons; “No two days are ever the same”, “the opportunities for progression” and “the chance to leave a real legacy” to name a few.
But do people – and more importantly, women – see it as a place that a female can legitimately grow a career? The answer is probably a no – the sector is still very much male-dominated.
So what can the behemoths of industry do to change the way transport and logistics is perceived? As Regional Engineering Manager at Amazon EU, Rachel Cooke spoke to Every Woman about how her career has lead up to her appointment in this prestigious role, and what employers can do to encourage female applications.
Rachel grew up in Teesside and was surrounded by male influences from a very young age. Whether it was the chemical plants that dotted her surroundings, or her father’s job as a chemical engineer, she never felt that gender could be an issue for her. And whilst this played its own role in her formative years, Rachel also had a wide range of female role models to draw influence from. The most enduring lesson: volunteer for things as often as possible, and don’t let doubts hold you back.
Working across the planet in a variety of jobs, from designing new chocolate bars for Cadbury to discovering how the Internet of Things could be used in beer production, she’s had a varied career, but there was always one constant in the jobs she looked for. Rachel always chose an employer with a culture of inclusion.
Studying the interviewer’s language, how they would talk about her achievements and women in the company, she would figure out if it was a job she was interested in. Amazon ticked the boxes and there she is now, a regional engineering manager.
So what can employers learn about inclusion from Amazon?
Sponsoring Awards for Female Achievement
For Rachel, one of the driving factors for signing a contract was that Amazon sponsors a category in the FTA everywoman in Transport & Logistics Awards. This is not only an opportunity for Rachel herself, but shows that the company as a whole understands the need to appreciate roles of women in the industry.
Helping Women Reach the Upper Echelons
Amazon sponsor degrees for women in order to help them advance up the ladder of the company. For the company itself this makes a huge amount of sense. Not only do you encourage women to join up, but you ensure that you’re nurturing your own talent and bolstering your own operations.
Focus on Collaboration
By fostering a culture of ‘teamwork’ at the company – as opposed to the traditional worker/manager dynamic – you can create a sense of collaboration. Creating this community vibe will not only make everyone feel included and like they are part of something, but cultivate an attitude of driven business success.
Show Value Through Flexibility
Allowing people to work from home when they need to, or out on the road, with one focus: to get the job done as best as possible, is also incredibly attractive to those who are starting families or have other commitments. Showing that you understand a person’s life isn’t just their job (but that they must get their job done!), will dramatically help with attraction and retention.