After two years of working from home, fluctuating social distancing policies, and watching new trends in transportation emerge, the annual THRC – Women with Drive Conference was finally able to resume. The Erb Group of Companies had two full tables of employees ready to indulge in learning how to challenge the status quo when driving diversity for women in the workplace.
Diversity Versus Inclusion
Diversity, equity and inclusion are often regarded as “tik the box” exercises for some businesses. However, it’s the groundwork required to engage prospective employees, retain current talent and become a mentor to cultivate an inclusive workplace.
“Diversity is the mix; inclusion is making the mix work.” Angela Splinter, Trucking HR Canada CEO, explained. As the pandemic continues, it highlights how foundational the practice of considering a workforce compromised of individuals of various races, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, physical ability, and other demographics is to the transportation sector. In addition, pushing back on the assumptions of traditional social constructs can lead to many pathways and opportunities for everyone if we adopt a diversified perspective from the bottom of the organization to the executive level.
A habit of human nature is that we attract people who look and act like us; unfortunately, businesses are not an exception to this fault. One of the main challenges that women in the transportation industry face are that they are highly underrepresented. Fifteen percent of women account for the Canadian industry’s overall trucking workforce, while women fill 87% of administration jobs, they represent 3.7% of truck driving jobs and 1.5% of technicians and mechanics. Yet only 5% of those females are in higher management positions. These numbers demonstrate the multiplied effort required by women and other equality deserving groups if they want an equal chance to succeed or move up in their jobs.
Additionally, if you Google search “trucker,” a slew of images of white males with tough exteriors in front of their fleet is all you will find. As a result, for every dollar a man makes, a woman makes 89 cents, and for indigenous people and other cultures, it is less. In 2022, as we create more tools and strategies to overcome workplace stereotypes, opening pathways for new talent is essential because companies can’t grow without a diverse team and fresh ideas.
We’ve embraced that what starts as a hard conversation can turn into a valuable learning experience. Women and other groups who fight for equal treatment in the workplace hold great ambition to drive change and should be allowed to do so. To adopt the bottom-up approach, 83% of our recruiters here at The Erb Group are currently female, allowing for a more gender-diverse panel of interviews. Past recruitment, we offer career pathways internally for all employees – driving and non-driving, to open pipelines for more diverse executive job opportunities. As of December 2021, we had 1381 employees, and 239 of them were female. In management, we have ten women in supervisor positions and 12 female managers; of those managers, four are at a director level or above.
There are no simple solutions to complex problems. However, by changing the conversations in our offices, terminals, and homes, we can change the narrative for everyone at work, especially women and other visible minorities, to feel supported, liberated, and equal when they show up to do their jobs. There is no specific profile at The Erb Group of Companies to fulfill a job position because we think you are cool just the way you are. To learn more about how we’re driving diversity for Women at The Erb Group, check out our Women in the Trucking Industry blog!