Last week, we discussed the importance of culture to promote gender balance in line with this year’s International Women’s Day theme - #BalanceforBetter. Today, we consider 12 practical ways to promote gender balance by attracting and retaining women in transport.
Attracting women to the transport industry
1. Connect with young people to promote the industry as a desirable career option. Not sure where to start? Take a look at the great school resources provided by WISE.
2. Mentor and provide opportunities for others to mentor. Check out the positive impact of our Women in Transport’s Advance mentoring programme.
3. Participate in professional organisations and extra-curricular activities, especially leadership participation and networking event attendance. Visibility and representation is mutually beneficial and necessary for advancement opportunities. Becoming a member of Women in Transport is a great way to build your network, volunteer and gain visibility - and at just £40 a year it’s a bargain!
4. Promote educational and career opportunities, focusing especially on minority recruitment efforts to increase the recruiting talent pool. A best practice example in our sector is Tideway which was the first UK employer to launch a returner programme, outside of Banking, in 2015.
5. Create a gender-balanced panel for interviews; one way to show immediate dedication to diversity, while also ensuring that the hiring decisions are not biased. And why not extend this to speaker panels?
6. Intentionally promote desired perceptions; deliberately advertise support of diversity and inclusion through as many outreach opportunities as possible, including professional organisations and social media. Consider a partnership with Women in Transport.
7. Promote the social purpose and communal goal of a career in transport. The Institute of Mechanical Engineers report, ‘Never Too Late,’ provides some fascinating insight into how to appeal to different types of potential engineers.
Promoting and retaining women in the transport industry
8. Develop and adhere to a defined succession plan to remove unintentional bias in the promotion process. Not seeing a path to advancement is a common reason provided by women who leave the STEM industry. Download the Our Time Toolkit to help promote future women leaders.
9. Develop and promote a toolbox of best practice by collecting and comparing transport sector policies and implementation successes. There are eight excellent case studies here.
10. Conduct, or participate in recurring surveys to understand the effectiveness of the cultural diversity efforts in place. Sharing practices that were ineffective is just as important as sharing practices that were effective. Have you read McKinsey’s 2017 ‘Delivering through Diversity’ report? It updates their 2015 Diversity Matters findings.
11. Ensure policies allow employees to take earned time off, without fear of retribution or loss of work availability upon return. Family friendly and considerate policies contribute to retention rates of qualified talent. Read WORK180’s blog showcasing some great flexible working examples across different organisations here.
12. Finally, change must take place at every level of an organisation to be effective. Buy-in must occur from the CEO to the front line to ensure effective cultural improvement. Take the example of Easyjet’s Chief Executive who took a voluntary 5% pay cut to match his salary to that of his predecessor, Carolyn McCall.
The list above is based on research published in February 2019 by Mineta Transportation Institute entitled ‘Attracting and Retaining Women in the Transportation Industry’. The full 40 page study is free to download and worth a read.
Women in Transport is current compiling a whitepaper on best practice on recruiting and retaining women in the transport sector. Have you got a great example from your organisation to share? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to contribute a case study for inclusion in the whitepaper or signpost an existing resource. This forms part of our work as secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group for Women in Transport.