Insights - March/April 2018 - 29
Gender Diversity Makes
Good Business Sense
By Ellen Voie
President, Women In Trucking Association
he closer that America comes to fully employing the
talents of all its citizens, the greater the output of goods
and services will be." - Warren Buffet
The next time you're traveling on an interstate, look at the
names on the side of the semi-tractors. Many [motor] carriers are
known by the name of the founder, such as J.B. Hunt, Schneider,
Werner, Knight or England, to name a few. These large carriers have
one thing in common: they were all started by a man and a truck.
Although the trucking industry has changed a great deal, the
number of women who find a career in transportation remains
small. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, women comprise 52 percent of managers across all occupations, but in the
trucking industry, women hold only 21 percent of transportation,
storage and distribution management positions, and 18 percent of
supervisory roles in transportation and material handling.
The mission of the Women In Trucking Association is to
increase the percentage of women employed in trucking and all
other freight sectors, including intermodal, to utilize unrealized
potential. To do this, we must first find out where we are today so
we can measure any future changes.
We created a WIT Index to track female board members and
female executives at 15 publicly traded trucking companies. Ten
of these companies had no women executives and seven had no
women serving on their boards of directors. Compare this to the 19
percent of director positions held by women outside of the industry.
We are currently working on a nationwide survey to track the
number of women in leadership at a large number of carriers to set
a benchmark and to explore best practices of those carriers whose
numbers are above average.
Why is diversity important, especially in a male-dominated
industry such as trucking? In addition to using the unrealized potential half the population can offer, the leadership styles of women
are actually beneficial.
Catalyst, a research organization, found that companies with
the highest representation of women leaders financially outperform, on average, the companies with the lowest. A recent report by
the Peterson Institute for International Economics studied 22,000
companies and found that having at least 30 percent women in
leadership roles increased net profits by 15 percent, compared with
those with no female leaders.
What do women bring to the board room that affects a company's profitability? Women's leadership style is more collaborative
and inclusive. Women use a more democratic leadership style
which allows subordinates to have greater participation.
In decision making, women take fewer risks than men due to
their level of estrogen, which encourages bonding and connection
and discourages conflict and risk taking. Men are driven by testosterone which encourages a focus on winning and power.
Forty years ago, when many of those large carriers were buying
that first truck, very few women were employed in the industry.
Women didn't often consider a career at a trucking company and
those who did found themselves the sole female in the room much
of the time. Since we have a tendency to hire those "like us," the
ranks of women continue to grow slowly.
There are ways to increase diversity within a company, but they
require employers to be aware of unconscious hiring and promotion practices. A study at Hewlett-Packard found that while men will
apply for a position if they meet 60 percent of the work requirements, women wait to apply until they feel they have 100 percent of
Women do not like to negotiate their salaries, whereas men
are four times more likely to negotiate a first salary, which sets a
precedent for career income from the start. In "Women Don't Ask,"
the authors found that a woman will lose more than $500,000 over
her career by not negotiating her first salary.
Women expect to be recognized for their efforts and don't always highlight accomplishments to request an increase in salary or
career advancement. A McKinsey report found that men are often
promoted based on their potential, where women are promoted
based on accomplishments.
How can you counter these challenges and create a more
diverse workforce? First, look at your recruiting materials. Women
are attracted to companies and industries if they feel their job
will be socially beneficial. What is the image of your company to
Track your recruiting efforts by gender. How many women were
considered for the position? How many were hired? Set hiring targets and hold managers accountable. What is your turnover rate by
gender? Are women leaving your company faster than men? If so,
find out why. Do you have women in high level positions currently?
If not, why? How many women are being groomed for higher roles?
In 1991, Deloitte found that only 5 percent of its partners were
women. Managers were asked to document performance reviews
and track the number of women recruited and retained at each
office. They offered more flexible work arrangements to both
men and women and looked at how work assignments affected
advancement opportunities. By 2000, the firm reached 14 percent
female partners and saved $250 million in hiring and training costs.
A diverse workforce isn't just the right thing to do, it is the
financially prudent choice. Increasing the number of women
employed in trucking and other sectors of the industry is the goal
of the Women In Trucking Association and should be a priority for
you as well. Hopefully in the near future we'll start seeing some
women's names on the side of those trucks and trailers, too.
March/April 2018 | Intermodal Insights
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Insights - March/April 2018
Washington Begins Work on Infrastructure
Equipment Condition, DVIRs Benefit Terminal Throughput
Effective Steps Can Be Taken When Terminal Capacity Is Tight
Chassis Market Changes Focus on Pools, Efficiency
Blockchain Presented as Option to Aid Intermodal Information Flow
Buying Decisions, Truck and Real Estate Costs Transform Transloads
Gender Diversity Makes Good Business Sense
International Intermodal News
Intermodal Information Services News
Insights - March/April 2018 - Cover1
Insights - March/April 2018 - 2
Insights - March/April 2018 - 3
Insights - March/April 2018 - IANA News
Insights - March/April 2018 - Washington Begins Work on Infrastructure
Insights - March/April 2018 - 6
Insights - March/April 2018 - 7
Insights - March/April 2018 - 8
Insights - March/April 2018 - 9
Insights - March/April 2018 - 10
Insights - March/April 2018 - Equipment Condition, DVIRs Benefit Terminal Throughput
Insights - March/April 2018 - 12
Insights - March/April 2018 - 13
Insights - March/April 2018 - 14
Insights - March/April 2018 - Effective Steps Can Be Taken When Terminal Capacity Is Tight
Insights - March/April 2018 - 16
Insights - March/April 2018 - 17
Insights - March/April 2018 - 18
Insights - March/April 2018 - Freight Report
Insights - March/April 2018 - Chassis Market Changes Focus on Pools, Efficiency
Insights - March/April 2018 - 21
Insights - March/April 2018 - 22
Insights - March/April 2018 - Blockchain Presented as Option to Aid Intermodal Information Flow
Insights - March/April 2018 - 24
Insights - March/April 2018 - 25
Insights - March/April 2018 - 26
Insights - March/April 2018 - Buying Decisions, Truck and Real Estate Costs Transform Transloads
Insights - March/April 2018 - 28
Insights - March/April 2018 - Gender Diversity Makes Good Business Sense
Insights - March/April 2018 - Government News
Insights - March/April 2018 - 31
Insights - March/April 2018 - 32
Insights - March/April 2018 - International Intermodal News
Insights - March/April 2018 - 34
Insights - March/April 2018 - Intermodal Information Services News
Insights - March/April 2018 - New Members
Insights - March/April 2018 - 37
Insights - March/April 2018 - 38
Insights - March/April 2018 - Intermodal Calendar
Insights - March/April 2018 - 40