Women have been the hardest hit by the coronavirus in the jobs sector and this economic devastation has now led to women seeking alternative modes of employment. Arnoux Maré, Managing Director of Innovative Learning Solutions encourages more women to consider the transport industry as an option.
The National Income Dynamics Study-Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (Nids-Cram) found that of the 3 million jobs lost because of COVID-19, 2 million of those jobs were held by women. “The transport industry is a viable option for women looking for a stable working environment,” says Maré.
Women’s employment too often remains either within traditionally female occupations or within the domestic (97%) farming sectors. They are often concentrated within positions which are low paying, and which have high rates of turnover.
According to the Nids-Cram, the transport industry shed about 17 000 jobs from the pandemic and pundits have estimated that the sector needs about 15 000 commercial truck drivers annually.
“These conditions make the transport sector ripe for exploring. Through professional truck driver training programmes, such as those provided by Innovative Learning Solutions, more women can fill up these vacancy gaps and secure their futures,” says Maré.
He says the reason why women often do not consider a career in the transport sector is linked to old perceptions of the industry, dated gender-role stereotypes and lack of access to quality training. Maré admits that the transport industry in the past used to be synonyms with males. But the industry has since opened up to accept more women candidates.
With over 11 000 truck drivers under Maré’s employ, he says training is fundamental for any truck driver, novice or expert.
Studies have also found that women truck drivers are better at lowering running costs such as fuel consumption and mechanical failure. They also outperform their male counterparts when considering safety and their adherence to the rules of the road, explains Maré.
“Like any industry, the transport sector has challenges that workers often have to overcome such as long hours and working in solitude. But routes, deliveries and the overall logistics of the industry are designed around the driver to mitigate fatigue and increase safety,” continues Maré.
He says employing more women is not only the right thing to do in terms of creating gender parity, but it is also better for the economy.
According to the United Nation’s research, when more women work, economies grow. Women’s economic empowerment boosts productivity, increases economic diversification and income equality in addition to other positive development outcomes.
“As more women look outside of their normal scope of employment, the transport industry should be one of the industries in their line of vision. The sector offers amazing benefits and provides job security at a time when the unemployment rate is so high, especially for women,” concludes Maré.