International Women’s Day gives us the chance to take a step back and celebrate the amazing accomplishments of women in the workforce. It also gives us the opportunity to assess what needs to be done to make gender equality across all sectors achievable.
Our Driving Change: A Closer Look at Women in Transport report from last year revealed the transport industry rates as one of the lowest in Australia for gender diversity, as just 26.4 per cent of the workforce are women, far lower than the all industry average of 46.9 per cent.
Thankfully, the tides are beginning to shift as businesses across Australia work towards achieving gender-diverse workforces across all sectors.
What Gender Equality Can Do For You
Australia’s transport, mining and construction sectors are all at a significant crossroads. The nation’s mining industry is set to be the world’s largest gold producer within the next five years, while Australia’s civil infrastructure market continues to rise in demand.
At the same time, the transport industry is currently faced with an ageing workforce, a scary prospect considering Australia’s domestic freight task is expected to increase by 80 per cent by 2031.
The most obvious benefit of creating a more gender-balanced workforce is that with more workers, businesses will be able to stay on top of rising demand in the years to come, and in turn, increase customer satisfaction.
Inclusive workplaces don’t just have economic benefits. Research shows that diversifying the workplace leads to increased returns, more productivity and additional business insights for strategic problem-solving. A diverse workforce introduces new, fresh perspectives that can help with collaboration and business innovation. In fact, businesses where men and women are treated equally earn 41 per cent more revenue than businesses that don’t make diversity a priority.
According to the Pew Research Centre, nearly half of all millennials actively look at diversity and inclusion when assessing potential employers. A gender-diverse workforce paints your business in a positive light, making it more appealing and attractive to the next generation of workers, particularly young women.
Heading In The Right Direction
The good news is that many businesses across Australia are already working on their own gender equality strategy. Our Women in Transport report discovered that 67.4 per cent of businesses in the transport sector, 68.8 per cent in construction and 77.1 per cent in mining currently have a diversity recruitment initiative.
As BHP works to achieve gender equality across all of its global operations by 2025, the nation’s mining sector has one of the smallest gender pay gaps across all industries at 14 per cent.
In a move to boost diversity at the coalface, the Mount Arthur Mine runs a training program that supports people from various backgrounds and removes a lot of pre-conceived notions that hang over the industry. Since it’s inception, nearly 65 per cent of trainees have been young women.
The construction industry is Australia’s second-largest sector, yet women make up just over a tenth of the workforce. Which is why programs like the Women Building Australia mentoring program aim to increase gender diversity in construction by highlighting all the various jobs available in the sector, while offering young women the information and support they need to get started in the industry.
While some pockets of the construction sector are still heavily male-dominated, some areas of the sector have seen a steady increase of female workers, most notably as traffic controllers. According to Gerard Mitchell, manager at Sydney-based Traffic Controllers, 80 per cent of his workforce are women.
To attract more women to the transport industry, we teamed up with the Australian Transport Association (ATA) to create the Driving Change Diversity Program. ATA Chair Geoff Crouch says the program aims to equip businesses with tools and information to boost diversity in their workforce.
“With the support of Teletrac Navman, the program will showcase diversity champions to the trucking industry and wider community, promoting positive perception of industry and encouraging new entrants into the workforce,” said Crouch.
This year on International Women’s Day, we want to not just celebrate the accomplishments of women in the workforce, but highlight the steps taken by leaders to boost the number of women in the transport, mining and construction sectors. While many businesses and groups have made diversity progress a priority in these crucial sectors, there’s still work to be done before true gender equality is achieved across all industries in Australia.