Gender diversity improves in logistics

By Aparna Desikan

CHENNAI: More women are entering the logistics industry on the back of rising demand from e-commerce companies, which are setting up fulfilment centres, coupled with corporates looking to improve their gender diversity. From traditional packing consignments, women are now engaged in operating fork lifts and delivery too. HR firms say that there has been a 20% increase year-on-year (YoY) in the number of women coming into the workforce. Staffing firm TeamLease notes that the gender diversity, which was at 5% two years ago, is set to improve from the current 10% to 20% by 2021.

Women take up analyticsrelated jobs, instruction-driven tasks such as packing & labelling, and customer-centric roles. TeamLease AVP Sudeep Kumar Sen said, “Those in the cities take up operations, tech and employee management roles and those closer to fulfilment centres are taking up instruction-driven tasks. The latter contribute an increase of 6-7% in gender diversity.” Recruiters add that companies also hire women to check attrition, and that involvement of tech and automation has made it easier as the job does not entail mere physical labour.

The Logistics Skill Council, which partners with companies such as TVS Logistics and others, sees 10-15% increase in the number of women trained. The council’s CEO T S Ramanujam said, “We have placed close to 5,000 after skilling and training — 12% of the total people placed in a year. Since fulfilment centres are now closer to the area of demand, the traditionally maledominated space is seeing women. There has been a doubling in the number of women trained by us.” Women not only take up softer roles such as packing, but are also trained in forklifting and freight forwarding, he added.

Some companies such as Mahindra Logistics and All-Cargo hire women as part of their mandate to improve diversity. Startups such as Heydeedee have women-only delivery teams that are partnering with e-commerce companies and logistics firms to improve gender diversity. Heydeedee founder Revathi Roy said, “We are operating in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Nagpur and Pune, employing women in the last-mile and mid-mile delivery space. Our clients include Amazon, Natures Basket and Flipkart.”

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