Women continue to grow in the freight transportation industry. The 2022 WIT Index (Women in Trucking) reported that 33.8% of C-suite executives in transportation companies are women. This is a 1.5% increase from the previous WIT Index conducted three years prior. Below the executive level, the 2022 WIT Index found that 40% of transportation industry leadership were women.
A Gartner survey from 2021 reported that women comprised 41% of the supply chain industry workforce. This participation rate is smaller than the 56% of women in the labor force in general. However, the Gartner survey also revealed that only 15% of executive supply chain roles were occupied by women.
The data suggests that within the supply chain industry’s transportation providers, women have twice the C-Suite participation rate compared with the supply chain in general. The data also suggest that overall participation of women in the supply chain and in transportation could be improved.
Is there a business case for greater participation by women in logistics and transportation leadership?
The answer is yes.
Talent identifier and future performance forecaster Caliper Corporation, now Talogy, in their insightful study The Qualities That Distinguish Women Leaders , make a strong case for more participation in management and C-Suite participation for women in logistics and transportation. According to the study, women leaders are more assertive; more persuasive; have a strong need to tackle and accomplish the “to do list”; and are more willing to assume risk than male leaders. Women characteristically are better suited to facilitate collaboration and share information.
Herb J. Greenberg, Ph.D., President, and CEO of Caliper at the time of the study publication, stated that “these qualities combine to create a leadership style that is inclusive, open, consensus building, collaborative and collegial.” Dr. Greenberg added that “we should emphasize that the male leaders in the study were also exceptional in these areas. But the women leaders set a new standard.”
A study published in Forbes.com found women to be exceptional listeners at all ages of life. Other studies and publications have concluded that women possess:
- good communication skills.
- excel at teamwork.
- are good at seeking ideas or feedback as a component of their management skillset.
Women Icons Network, in their July 2021 article 8 Reasons Why Women Are Better Bosses Than Men made a strong case for considering that women demonstrating strong communication and listening skills should be considered for more leadership roles in business. Oviya Priyadharshini, addressing the topic, expressed an opinion backed up by the Forbes study. “Communication is an important aspect, and we all want a boss who we can talk to and who is open and honest with us. Collaboration is essential in a successful team. Women, more than men, are excellent communicators. Women supervisors excel at making their teams feel like they are a part of every decision the company makes.”
Commenting on the topic, Sarah Olmstead, President of Rebel Logistics and ECA member, said “I don’t feel that a ‘man’ could do my job better.
Someone may be able to, but their sex has no bearing on that. However, the integrity and drive of an individual should be the determining factor in success versus failure. I (can) hold all the same qualities as any man that may be in my same professional position, and any man can hold the same qualities that I possess. So, why would my qualities out-rank a man’s and/or why would a man’s qualities out-rank mine? They wouldn’t. If I’m lacking in any aspect (that may make me better as a professional in the workforce), that’s on me. There’s no man or woman on this earth who causes me to be less of a professional or stops me from success. Obviously, the data show that the number of women in the professional space is increasing. But is it because they are finally being picked to play in the game, or is it because they finally have the confidence to go after a spot on the team?”
She concluded “Isn’t it just the value of the individual that becomes the topic, not the sex?”
Another study conducted by the Frank Recruitment Group concluded most Fortune 500 companies led by a female CEO are more profitable. Specifically, the findings stated that 87% of the top 500 companies led by a female decision-maker reported above-average profits, compared to just 78% of companies without a female CEO.
Based on these and multiple other data sets and opinions, our industry’s current trajectory in hiring and promoting women to all levels of leadership is a positive trend that deserves to continue.
The ECA recognizes the significant role of women throughout all facets of the workplace. In efforts to support women in the industry, the ECA Board of Directors has officially created the Women’s Group Committee.
The mission of the ECA Women’s Group is to increase awareness of the challenges facing women working in the transportation industry. The committee will accomplish its goals of awareness and education through outreach, advocacy, and development of resources focused on growth of women’s roles in the transportation industry.
Women’s Group Committee Function and Responsibilities
The ECA Women’s Group will achieve its goals through virtual quarterly events, one in-person event at ECA MarketPlace, the creation and sharing of thought leadership, and other outreach efforts.
Objectives of the ECA Women’s Group Committee are to support women in the industry by:
- Working closely with the education committee to create and bring impactful resources, education, and networking opportunities to women in the industry.
- Helping support women in a safe and engaging environment.
- Advocating for and guiding women to grow in their professional careers, working through everyday business challenges, and managing their day-to-day responsibilities.
Formation of the Women’s Group Committee ensures the ECA is focused on the future of transportation and the greater good of its current and future members. In 2022 female ECA MarketPlace attendees made up only 13.3% of total attendees. However while only 13.3% of MarketPlace attendees were female, there was an overwhelming amount of support for the Women’s Group. From attendance at the in-person event at MarketPlace to sponsorship revenue donated to support women pursuing degrees in business, a strong desire among ECA members to support the Women’s Group initiatives was evident.
There is no better time to support your peers than the present. ECA, A Delivery Industry alliance has created this group based on the above data and countless hours of additional research on why it is good business that women continue to grow in participation in our industry.
To support women in the industry is to support your business.