How a Food Wholesaler Company is Tackling One of the Biggest Industry Gender Imbalances

Over the past few years, the transport and logistics industry in general has gone through multiple major overhauls. Starting from Brexit which altered everything from the number of haulage drivers to how goods are traded across borders, to the Covid pandemic that forced serious supply chain constraints.

It caused haulage companies to reconsider their operations amid the labour shortfall with many HGV drivers and warehouse staff relocating to mainland Europe. The shortage of labour did not only cause problems for the haulage companies but it disrupted operations for big and small businesses across the UK. Despite operators offering very attractive salaries for haulage drivers and warehouse workers, the industry still lacks enough labour force to meet demands.

With the advent of 2023, these issues still persist. One of the biggest reasons for this is the untapped resource of female workers. The road transport and logistics industry sees one of the biggest gender imbalances in any UK industry. There are multiple reasons for this gender imbalance, however, there are certain steps that businesses operating in this industry can take to address this.

One business that has been making inroads in this regard is the wholesale food and catering supplier JJ Foodservice. For years now, they have been advocating for changes that will make haulage driving and working in warehouses more attractive and feasible for women. In a Grocer’s interview, JJ’s COO Mustaque Ahmed talked about how there were no female washrooms or changing rooms in warehouses along with other basic facilities for women. He highlighted how taking care of little details like these that require no major investments could incentivise women to work in the industry.

Having set ambitious targets, JJ has launched multiple campaigns to consistently increase the number of women working as HGV drivers and in their warehouses. Their drive to employ more female staff takes advantage of the technological advancement and transformation that the logistics industry has gone through. The job demands much less physicality and brute force than it used to and with smart tools at their disposal, females working in the warehouses have a much easier time fulfilling their professional duties than they used to regardless of their gender.

Along with incorporating technology and having warehouse facilities to support female drivers, JJ Foodservice also offers convenient hours with competitive salaries on permanent contracts. They aren’t forced to work evenings or weekends giving them enough time to dedicate to their families and personal lives.

For businesses that are serious about hiring the best talent, it is important to show the potential recruits that you care about their well-being and are willing to go the extra mile to cater to their needs. Good employees have lots of options, therefore, to have them choose you over your competitors, you have to be conscious of their needs beyond just the wage.

Despite that, the biggest effort that JJ Foodservice is making to get more women to pick warehousing as a profession has to do with changing the industry mindset and the public’s perception in general. In their driving job adverts, they consistently portray women to convey the idea that they are a company that is welcoming to everyone regardless of their gender. Their ads also highlight employees’ well-being, a crucial aspect not too often associated with jobs in this industry.

Initiatives like this could really help industries tap into unused talent resources to not only meet their labour demands but also improve their operational efficiencies.

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