How women can thrive in the logistics industry

Yodel's chief commercial officer sets the multiple ways to offer support
Samantha Holden

In a sector that employs almost three million people, women make up only a fifth of the logistics workforce – something Yodel addresses through its appointment of women across a number of roles and levels throughout the organisation. In fact, 50% of Yodel’s service centre sites in Scotland, for example, are run by women. More broadly, women in the logistics industry are driving efficiency, spearheading innovation, and leading business success from the warehouse floor right up to the boardroom. However, there are still plenty of opportunities to attract more women into the logistics industry when recruiting, and support those already within the sector.

Where are there opportunities?

Building awareness and exposure: One challenge the industry faces is building awareness of the available opportunities, and fuelling interest in the sector from an early age. The logistics industry is traditionally seen as male dominated, potentially inadvertently discouraging women from seeing a career within logistics as a valid option to pursue. Understanding the vast range of career paths and creating greater exposure to these can be done via career fairs, workshops, and mentorship programmes, which can help fuel that all-important interest from an early age across a broader range of candidates. Doing so will also myth-bust the misconception that the industry doesn’t have a variety of interesting roles available with a number of skillsets needed, and open up eyes to the vast number of careers within the sector.

The importance of apprenticeships: Apprenticeships will play a pivotal role in shaping the workforce of the future. Apprenticeships are particularly important in industries like logistics where hands-on experience is crucial. They offer a structured pathway into these industries, allowing apprentices to learn directly from experienced professionals. This not only ensures that apprentices gain a deep understanding of their field but also allows them to apply their learning in real-world contexts, enhancing their problem-solving and decision-making abilities. Apprenticeships can help make the logistics industry more accessible for a more diverse talent pool. At Yodel, we provide a variety of different apprenticeships to help people from all walks of life excel in the industry.

Mentorship and support: Networking and mentorship schemes can help break down barriers and foster an inclusive environment for those in the earlier stages of their careers. In addition to providing support to junior employees, they can also expose and empower women to take on leadership roles, thereby driving the industry forward. Having strong inspirational women in leadership positions is crucial to provide support and inspiration for young women starting out in the industry. We must ensure all colleagues feel encouraged to take on leadership positions, and put themselves forward for promotions they deserve, and further training opportunities.

Male allies in the workplace also play an extremely important role in mentoring women and supporting them through their careers. I have felt incredibly supported by my male colleagues at Yodel and throughout my career; they have always shared valuable advice and expertise to ensure I can succeed.

Celebrating women’s achievements in the industry: Recognising the success stories and accomplishments of women in the field through awards can also draw broader attention to their contributions and successes within the industry. A significant personal milestone for me in recent years was receiving the Northern Businesswoman of the Year award at the National Businesswomen’s Awards. Achievements like this will hopefully motivate more women to consider joining the sector and recognise the career prospects of the industry.

The final word

The logistics industry has evolved in many ways recently, including removing stereotypes of a typical, logistics worker, and appealing to a wider, diverse range of candidates. The progress made in supporting women in roles within the industry so far is encouraging but as we move forward, it is essential to remember that diversity is not just about representation, it’s about creating an inclusive environment where everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed and progress in their careers, similar to the opportunities that I have been lucky enough to experience during my career. The logistics industry, like all industries, is at its best when it fully embraces this principle. 

For more information on Yodel, please visit: https://www.yodel.co.uk/about

Written by
May 10, 2024
Written by
Samantha Holden