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Misogyny is a whole industry issue, not just in driver recruitment…

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Firstly thank you very much to Callum Jones for highlighting the key issues in terms of equality in the transport industry. I truly understand how difficult it is to get the tirade of content I no doubt thrust at him, into concise points and appreciated the opportunity.

In a fierce edit such as this some of the subtlety of my message is inevitably lost. Clearly its struck a cord as I had a proper flurry of comments – none flattering – with quite a few objectifying. Sadly after 28 years in commerce I am used to this level of nonsense.

Here’s the fuller content by means of explanation.  

The logistics industry is facing a recruitment crisis.

People don’t want to work in it because its not:

  • Cool
  • Sexy
  • Inspiring
  • Easy

In the service delivery part of the industry it can be very difficult to recruit. That’s because  delivery and fulfilment jobs can be very

  • Hard work
  • Heavy lifting
  • Dirty
  • Long hours
  • Away from home
  • Unappreciated
  • Facilities are challenging
  • People can feel unsafe or under pressure

There is a crisis – there a 60000 driver shortage, and a general recruitment crisis is the 3rd to 5th (dependant on source) industry in the UK due to potential perspective of what is a challenging industry.

Demand for delivery increases every year – and this will become a UK wide crisis if its not addressed – because without delivery business growth will be restricted, as we constrict consumer demand.

There needs to be innovation and diversity to seek new solutions. And an understanding of some easy steps that can be implemented to relieve some of the key issues.

The employment mix in logistics is woefully pale, male and stale – and 50+. This gives a perspective bias which fails to deliver what wider society needs, and is failing to see the need for change. It is changing too slowly – its 2020 and you’ve got sub 2% on boards, sub 1% in drivers and sub 26% in the rest of the industry in terms of gender, and other cultural diversity markers are similarly woeful.

There is a real problem with this as the industry does not relate to its consumers, its clients nor its potential employees. It is not innovating and is archaic in terms of technology, the green agenda and equality, diversity and inclusion. It does not function with the margins that enable money to be thrown at the problem. Therefore solutions have to be innovation – and you won’t get that from an old, pale, stale male majority. You need innovation, and this stems from diversity. You need a re-evaluation of the industry values and re-brand of the sector to attract the people, resources and investment we need.

As for me ‘playing the misogyny card’, I am still called ‘sweets’ by some of my counterparts, still have passes made at me at every awards dinner, still have conversations with my chest rather than my face unless I cover up like Mother Theresa. My leather trousers – which I’ve been wearing for 25+ plus years – are a source of leering comment.   I’m told I’m ‘doing very well’ in the manner of Mr Grace by patronising idiots whose companies are half the size of mine that they only own 25% of. Not only is misogyny is alive and well but a distinct and continual gender bias is all pervasive in our industry.  A royal cultural kick up the arse is needed.

So I am really happy the Times called time on this and highlighted the issue. I welcome anything to start the debate. We MUST change and innovate to survive. Or the industry is scuppered – doomed to be consumed into 1 or 2 major players because consolidation will be the only way it can survive and that will mean the end of your business. So listen up.

Oh and one more thing – I’m pretty sure I said “misogynistic ‘something that rhymes with truckers’ – not truckers…… no dispersions were cast by me about our ambassadors on the road! ;)

You can see the original article in The Times here.


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