If you can’t see it, you can’t be it. – Meryn Morrison
Here at Teletrac Navman, for this year’s International Women’s Day on 8th of March, we are celebrating the hardworking and ambitious women who have created a career for themselves in the road transport industry.
Women are contributing to many areas of transport operations, right up to management level. Women are top performers – both anecdotally and according to many operators’ vehicle tracking software. Punctual, friendly and easy on the vehicle, female drivers can benefit businesses by contributing to efficient operations.
Pioneering women have always been the catalyst for change, paving the way for others. As such, we’re highlighting the very important work done by Women in Road Transport (WiRT) chairwoman Meryn Morrison.
Are women the answer to the driver shortage?
The 2019 Teletrac Navman Benchmark Report found that the 2nd top business challenge for the fleet management industry was finding, retaining and developing talent, while interestingly, ‘expanding driver workforce’ received a much lesser focus as the ninth (2%) top business goal among the respondents. This shows that although staff is front and centre in the road transport industry, focusing on how to diversify the talent recruitment process is still in need of some momentum.
This focus is exactly what WiRT’s main purpose for being is. The organisation wants to encourage a career in road transport as well as empowering the women who are already in the industry. Chairwoman Meryn Morrison notes that:
“It is important to uncover the unconscious bias that can come to the fore for all of us, especially in road transport where women are still a minority. My favourite phrase is – if you can’t see it, you can’t be it!”
When asked what advice she would give to business owners wanting to employ more female staff, Meryn said:
Women require a slightly different emphasis at work to their male counterparts. Conditions, flexibility and training are paramount for women to perform at their best. This includes:
- Flexibility with hours is a huge barrier in our traditional driver model. If we shift emphasis to the prime mover and what hours it can do, other shift patterns may suit better. It may take negotiating with customers, but it can be done. Having a truck moving 16-20 hours a day with two drivers makes better dollar sense for your investment.
- Training is paramount when on-boarding a new employee. This can be through buddying up, formal unit standards and company training systems. Youth and women like the certainty of knowing training is available, as they don’t want to fail or learn through failing, when it could be avoided. Other drivers are usually only too pleased to impart knowledge, they are a really skilled bunch.
- Facilities have to be clean and fit for purpose – at their base and on route. Encouraging feedback and passing that on to fuel stations and NZTA would help job conditions.
Across the industry, women are sharing positive work stories and progressing their careers. So, for this year’s International Women’s Day, help us acknowledge the immeasurable benefits women bring to the industry. Also, spend some time thinking about how your organisation can encourage more women to join your business and start their career in the road transport industry.
Keep in touch with WiRT via its Facebook page