Transport career campaign to inspire sustainable workforce

By Melissa Coade

March 9, 2022

train-driver-woman
A national campaign to improve the gender balance in the transport roles has been launched. (auremar.Adobe)

A national campaign to improve the gender balance in transport roles has been launched, celebrating the move towards a more inclusive, modern industry. 

Australia’s transport workforce is ageing and predominantly male, and a new campaign backed by federal ministers is trying to inspire change. 

While women comprise half of Australia’s labour talent pool, ABS data shows women only make up 27.4% of workers in the transport, postal and warehousing sectors. In the case of land and transport jobs, the number of women drops to 20%.

According to the National Transport Commission, extra transport workers are urgently needed for a broad range of skills and in leadership roles.

Increasing women’s participation in the sector was a priority at the federal level, Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communication deputy secretary Diane Brown said.

“[The] initiative is designed to drive productivity and profitability benefits that will come with increased gender balance within the transport sector. 

“Increased participation by women in the transport sector will have flow-on benefits for business, industry, and the whole economy,” Brown said.

The federal government recently announced an ‘historic investment’ in the industry, with $110 billion committed over 10 years starting this financial year. Additional funding from state and territory governments, like Victoria’s Big Build initiative, has created what industry leaders regard as an investment boom.

The women in the transport initiative will establish a network of senior women leaders for the industry, and showcase the transport careers of private and public sector employees. It includes a dedicated website that features a speaker bureau of prominent women in transport, the regular publication of key workforce data, and a series of networking events for industry leaders. 

A focus on attracting women to leadership roles in the sector is also a goal of the campaign. Women comprise 4.5% of transport CEOs, and the gender pay gap of more than 16% across all transport industry jobs is above the average gap of 14%.

Commission CEO Gillian Miles noted that unless women were part of the transport industry during an ‘investment boom’ period, there would be a social and economic problem to fix as well. 

The campaign was launched by Roads Australia on Monday. Michael Kilgariff, the CEO of the industry group, said the campaign would ensure the transport workforce was more representative of the community it served.

“Roads Australia champions a diverse, inclusive, sustainable and values-led organisation and industry,” Kilgariff said. 

Higher people engagement, resilience, productivity and performance for the industry were all benefits that Infrastructure Australia CEO Romilly Madew said could be achieved with better gender balance in the transport sector. 

“By taking deliberate and meaningful steps to address the working needs of women and other underrepresented groups in the transport sector, we can unlock additional capacity to deliver the record infrastructure pipeline and support Australia’s long-term prosperity,” she said.


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