What’s it Like for Women in Logistics?

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Women in Logistics ImageThe longevity and sustainability of any industry workforce necessitates the need to attract and retain successful women in logistics.

Despite this, gender trends are slow to shift in the logistics sector with a recent paper by the Australian Standards Industry revealing that only 20 per cent of women make up the labour force, a figure that remains relatively unchanged over the past 30 years.

However, as technology continues to embed itself into the industry and roles become more flexible and attractive to women, new opportunities are emerging in this fast-paced and booming industry.

A women’s perspective on a logistics career

Enrica Centorame, Director of Global Forwarding Pty Ltd, has spent over two decades in the logistics industry and hasn’t looked back.

“I’m so glad I jumped at the opportunity because I absolutely love it to this day,” said Ms Centorame.

The many benefits of working in logistics, such as enhanced work-life balance and the opportunity to work from anywhere, are ideal for managing family life, explained Ms Centorame.

Achieving the work-life balance

Despite the negative press logistics sometimes attracts, it can be a family-friendly and flexible workplace, explained Ms Centorame.

“Yes, the hours are long at times in senior roles, but the rewards are worth it.

 “In a warehousing environment, shift work can accommodate a work-life balance

 “Most employers are now aware of what working parents require, so shifts can be tailored accordingly.” 

The ability to work from anywhere

A key benefit of a flexible workplace, and one that suits parents juggling work and family commitments, is the ability to work from home.

“In freight forwarding, all you need is a car, laptop and phone, so you can work from anywhere. 

“Technology really has been our key to freedom,” said Ms Centorame.   

Nonetheless, as with any job, logistics does have its shortcomings.

“One of the downsides are the phone calls and urgent emails in the middle of the night from the other side of the world. 

“Often these cannot wait until our working day starts and need to be actioned immediately.

“Our clients trust us to move and arrange their freight, and we have an obligation to go the extra mile to ensure this happens.”

Advice for women considering a career in logistics

Though woman are still in the minority in this male-dominated industry, there is support and encouragement for gender diversity, according to Ms Centorame.

“I’ve found the men in logistics to be very supportive and value the point of difference women bring to the table.

“The sector has changed significantly from when I started 23 years ago.”

Make the travel work for you 

Many women (and men) with young children may be put off by the thought of travelling for work, but logistics can offer opportunities if you’re willing to embrace it, according to Ms Centorame.

“If your employer is sending you to a conference in China, take a few days annual leave before or after to soak up the culture of the country.  The airfare is paid! 

“As an independent mother, I was able to take my eldest son with me.

“By the time he was 16, he had visited Italy, Greece, Japan, China, New Zealand and Hong Kong. 

“It was fine to leave him in the reception areas during my meetings, and my colleagues often had nannies so in the evenings he was well looked after.

“All that travel at a young age has made him the international man he is today.”

Embrace all opportunities that come your way

“If you’re offered a three-day forklift driver course, take it!  Remove all gender and other forms of bias – it’s a great experience.

“Study and regular training are important, cultural awareness, respect and appreciation are attributes which make us better global citizens.”

It’s an industry that offers so much diversity, whether working in road, air or sea freight, domestic or international warehouse management and distribution, and no day is ever the same, according to Ms Centorame.

“Logistics is so broad that boredom has no place!” 

By Haley Williams

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