“Modernizing your workforce starts with modernizing your HR approach.”
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As the world becomes more interconnected, we can learn a lot from other economies and cultures about how to solve our own issues in the Canadian trucking and logistics industry.
One of those issues is the inclusion of women and how to improve the diversity of our industry overall.
What can we learn from others and what can we share?
On April 23, Trucking HR Canada was invited to speak at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Women in Transportation Roundtable in Vancouver.
APEC brings together leaders, ministers, senior officials and business representatives, who meet regularly to drive the APEC agenda forward and implement policies and projects across a wide range of issues. Since 2015, the U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Agency for International Development have worked together to implement the APEC Women in Transportation (WIT) Initiative, seeing value in this solution to labour shortages.
For me, the roundtable demonstrated just how important it is to collaborate with people from different economies and sectors who have taken on similar challenges. Here’s what we learned:
A diverse workforce is a more successful workforce
Gender equity in the workplace is no longer just an equality issue, it’s an economic one. When women do better, everyone wins.
Progress takes time
“At the current rate of progress, it will take 200 years to close the gender gap,” said Thao Pham, Associate Deputy Minister at Transport Canada, during her opening remarks at the roundtable. She’s referring to a study from CCPA Research Associate Kate McInturff that looks at Canada’s progress in closing the gap between men and women over the past two decades. Despite high-profile initiatives to increase the representation of women in politics and on corporate boards, Canada’s overall score has climbed just 2.3% in two decades.
If we want to see gender equity in our lifetime, we are going to have to make some dramatic changes. But how?
Mentorship programs work
In a study by the Wharton School of Business, 25% of employees who took part in their company’s mentoring program have experienced a salary increase compared to just 5% of non-participants. Mentors were six times more likely to be promoted than those not in the program; mentees were promoted five times more often.
Trucking HR Canada’s “Industry Youth” surveys show that the majority of young people want more mentoring and coaching in the workplace, and our “Women with Drive” surveys have two in three respondents citing mentorship as a tool that would support them professionally.
Key takeaway: Implement that mentorship program you’ve been thinking about.
Include women at every level
Gender equality is more likely to be achieved when women are involved with planning, hiring, training, and mentorship at every level of a company.
In the panel moderated by Trucking HR Canada’s CEO, Angela Splinter, we learned why it’s important to make a conscious effort to include women in surveys and data collection. It is also key to be aware of biases within the data based on women’s previous participation in the data.
The insightful panelists who spoke included: David Chien, Executive Director, Office of Policy and Plans, U.S. Federal Aviation Administration; Lori Summer, U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration; Dr. Stephanie Ivey, University of Memphis; and Kelly Clifton, Portland State University.
I am hopeful that, moving forward, these collaborative approaches across economies and sectors will help everyone recognize opportunities for gender equity in our industry and in our country in my lifetime. We’ll continue to share ideas, but it’s also time for action.