Peak bodies unite for Female-Only job seeker plan

Enabling exclusive invitations to females to enter the male dominated heavy vehicle and logistics industries is a win-win – but needs anti-discrimination commission buy-in to proceed.

Under an industry leading initiative aimed at easing the skills shortage, national peak bodies Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA) and the Australian Logistics Council (ALC), representing the heavy vehicle and end-to-end supply chain and freight logistics industries respectively, have joined forces to seek an industry-wide exemption by applying to state anti-discrimination commissions this week.

If approved by the jurisdictional commissions, the exemption would allow all industry participants to opt-in to the scheme and advertise roles for “female-only applicants.”

ALC CEO, Dr Hermione Parsons said the statistics are alarming with the Labour Market Insights survey identifying female industry representation at just 24.5 per cent compared to 40-50 percent in other Australian industries. 

“It is far worse in operations and in roles such as truck driver (3 per cent), motor mechanic (1 per cent) and fitter/welders (1 per cent) because of the perception of a male dominated industry,” Dr Parsons said.

Dr Parsons is co-Chair of the Wayfinder: Supply Chain Careers for Women – a fully funded industry program operating creating a new pipeline for women entering the freight transport and logistics industry.

“More needs to be done, especially in the current, highly competitive, skills shortages era.”

HVIA CEO, Todd Hacking put the issue in context: “The lack of skilled labour is the number 1, 2 and 3 top priority issue facing our industry presently – according to feedback from HVIA members.

“And the nation is crying out for our services to keep the supply chain moving.

“The good news is that the demand for new safer, more efficient trucks and trailers is at record levels,” he said.

Both HVIA and ALC agree one of the fastest solutions is to make the industry more attractive to the largest under-represented labour cohort – females.

The application acknowledges the contributions of the existing female workforce:

The feedback from our members is very strong. As a group, females are great contributors in the workplace – they are safe, measured, professional, responsible, and reliable.  We believe increasing the percentage of female representation will be positive for our industry and the community.

Dr Parsons said HVIA and ALC member companies offer rewarding careers in a range of different areas. In fact, the Wayfinder Career Map outlines 150 roles across 18 sectors in supply chain and freight transport and logistics.

“We believe if we were successful and industry members were granted an exemption – they would see an increase in female participation, more applicants and a greater chance of filling a vacancy,” Dr Parsons concluded. 

Both organisations have been working together on the plan since the Surface Transport Roundtable held by Minister, Hon Catherine King MP back in August.

The scheme – if successful – would be free and open to all HVIA and ALC members, and any other business identifying as part of the industry.  There will be a simple application process which binds participants to record-keeping and sharing the results of the advertising campaign for reporting back to the Commissions.

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