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Women in Logistics
Is There Still a Glass Ceiling?
Ronald M. Marotta, Yusen Logistics (Americas) Inc.
The simple answer to this very important question is, "yes, there is still a glass ceiling" for slightly more than half of our workforce here in America.
Today, we are experiencing a real employment paradigm shift where we see women entering the white-collar workforce in greater numbers than men. It has been shown that there are now roughly fifty-three females for every forty-seven males entering the workforce.
All who serve as employees in large corporations today see a somewhat slower movement of our co-workers from entry-level to middle management positions and we also see a similar slow movement of management staff from mid-to senior-level positions across many industries as companies try to do more with less, focused on increasing management efficiency throughout organizations. In the climb up the management ladder though, we often see that men advance in the management structure of organizations in a manner that appears to be heavily tilted in the male manager's favor.
Some studies have shown that there are twice as many men as women in management roles and in the very top of the management structure of organizations there could be as many as four times as many men as women. We see this pattern across all industries and on a global basis, though the USA leads in female employment, our corporations have a very small percentage of females serving in CEO positions.
Recently we have seen that women are starting to experience a greater level of success in the climb up the management ladder and in our industry there appears to be a greater drive toward gender equity in management in the international business area for importers, retailers, logistics organizations and transportation companies.
Working in a large multi-national global organization that is more than 125 years old, it is possible to support the development of women in our workplace whether it is here in the USA, Hong Kong or in China. We long ago supported a work environment that allowed all team members, including females, to grow and expand their capability from the time they first join the organization until they retire.
We have supported the development of skills and operational knowledge of young women to help prepare them for management roles beyond what they brought to our organization in their set of skills that are combined with their strong desire to develop a successful career in management in our organization. There is talk today of the roles of sponsors of young women in business, but we truly see that it is the individual's exceptional work product, commitment to task, and the organization they work for combined with strong performance in multiple areas that propel women into higher management positions in our organization.
What can you do that will make a difference?
Some simple management efforts directed toward developing a fair and balanced approach to fostering talent for all in your organization are fairly easy to undertake and implement. In developing a fair pathway to help our team climb the management ladder, we all may need to change our behavior a bit, but the rewards to organizations will be great as this sea change will help to strengthen the loyalty of your workforce and develop talent that otherwise may not have had a chance to flourish.
With the focus on developing a culture of fair opportunity of management growth for all of your team, and in particular women, within your organizations, you must first communicate clearly what your management team commits to across your teams. Once this is done, you should follow and work diligently every day to live to the word of these employee development initiatives.
Some Key Ideas for Management Development Success
- Develop a strong vibrant mentorship program for those that wish to advance into and through the structure of your management organization. The effort should be real and meaningful. The senior management team of your organization must be committed to this effort and show it in meaningful ways every day.
- Continuously be on the lookout for new talent that joins your organization and when you start a new employee, invest in their training and on-boarding as if they are joining your organization as their first stop on a long career with your organization.
- Reward and recognize those at all levels that do extraordinary work.
- Celebrate diversity in a meaningful way and do so in public for the team to see.
- Allow your team to give back inside and outside the boundaries of your organization, especially within the community where they work or live. Oftentimes leaders will emerge and/or prove themselves while serving in these types of efforts but, if management does not participate in this effort or is not watching this opportunity to find leaders and management candidates, they will be lost.
- Allow continuing education and training with a particular focus on leadership.
- Focus on the family and support your team as they start out as parents through the time when your team needs to focus on elder care. Building an organization that has true values and a respect for the individual will see a return as you build employee loyalty and commitment to your organization.
We all hope that the world will be a fairer place for all as they work throughout their chosen careers across corporations irrespective of where they are located. We are confident that as we move forward through time, change will occur that will provide a greater level of opportunity for young women that join the workforce. We suspect that without real open-minded and progressive management that is truly committed to gender equity efforts in the workplace, we will continue to see for some time a lopsided balance of the gender of those that serve as senior management in corporations.
Ronald M. Marotta is the Vice President of Yusen Logistics (Americas) Inc., International Division, an NYK Group Company, responsible for the Origin Cargo Management Group and is based in Secaucus, NJ. Ron also serves as the NYK Group's Commercial Council Office Leader and works with all NYK Group Companies in their efforts to collaborate and provide integrated global logistics services to our mutual customers. Ron began his career at NYK almost twenty years ago as the General Manager of OCS of America, Inc. and helped to transform one of the original consolidators in Asia, into a modern consolidator and cargo logistics company.
Over the past 19 years, Yusen Logistics has grown their international business over 1,100% and extended their service reach throughout the globe. Ron can be contacted at (201) 553-3803.