Jenny OBrien Palletways

A drive by Palletways to attract more women into the logistics industry has resulted in a 25% year-on-year increase in female employees in just one year.

Marking the increase just two days before International Women’s Day on 8 March, the network said it aims to drive this number even higher.

In 2021, there were 99 female employees working at Palletways UK. This rose by almost a quarter to 124 in 2022, which the company attributes to women increasingly seeing the sector as offering an appealing career path.

It has been estimated that of the 125 million people who work in the international logistics sector, only around 2% of the global workforce and 19% of the UK workforce are women.

Jennifer Mosley-Bradley, Palletways UK head of HR, said: “There is no doubt that women are under-represented in this sector which is why we have an awareness drive to bring more women into the logistics industry.

“We are proud to say that our efforts are really paying dividends with such a massive year-on-year increase in female employees and we will continue to work hard to attract even more women into this exciting sector.

"Of our female workforce, 28% are in entry level roles, 24% in Intermediary positions, 40% are in manager roles, 2% are in driver roles and 4% are Directors or Heads of Departments.

“The initial hurdle is getting women to consider a career in the logistics in the first place which is why we are working hard to correct this gender imbalance. We increasingly find that women are intrigued by what a career in logistics could offer them and once they come on board they find that there is a world of opportunities that they never even knew existed.

“We actively encourage all employees, regardless of gender, to rise within the company and that no roles are off limit for the right people. There is no ‘glass ceiling’ at Palletways UK and we are delighted that so many more women are choosing to work here and are finding this industry to be both fulfilling and rewarding.”

Palletways points to staff member Jenny O’Brien (pictured), who was recently promoted to the key role of head of fulfilment, as an example of the opportunities the network can offer women.

O'Brien is based at the company’s Fradley Park Distribution HQ and joined the company 19-years ago as a customer service worker.

She now heads up a nine-strong team to ensure the busy fulfilment centre, which houses up to 6,000 pallets at any one time, runs like clockwork.

She got the job after identifying key areas where the fulfilment centre could operate more efficiently to meet targets, provide a better service for customers and boost employee satisfaction.

Palletways UK said that when management offered her an interim role to implement the changes she had suggested, she jumped at the chance and was rewarded with promotion to head of fulfilment after meeting or exceeding company targets.

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O'Brien said: “I did not see this as a long-term career path when I first joined Palletways but I quickly saw the opportunities for advancement and found that I loved the challenges that working in such a fast-paced sector brings.

“I would recommend this industry to any woman who is looking for a career that may be a little out of the ordinary and where no two days are the same.

"My job is ensuring the efficient day-to-day running of the fulfilment operation so that we hit out targets, keep staff motivated and keep our customers happy… but it is so much more than that.

“I love coaching and mentoring to bring out the best in people and I love working for a company where there are no limits to what employees can achieve… and that applies equally to men and women.”

Robert Gittins, Palletways UK managing director, said: “The logistics industry has traditionally been very heavily male-dominated, but as our 25% year-on-year growth in female employees shows, this need no longer be the case.

"We actively promote a diverse workforce and I look forward to welcoming many more women into the Palletways team in the coming 12 months and beyond.

“It is incredible to see that women are not only joining the industry but taking on hands on roles too with 20% of the females at Palletways work in operations.

"Elsewhere in the business, 12% work in sales, 14% in an administrative role, 16% in customer service, 21% in accounts and 15% work in a variety of roles such as drivers, marketing, IT, HR and in network support.”