Despite figures from the Federal Government showing that less than a quarter of people working in the transport, postal and warehousing industry are women, a freight-forwarding company is bucking the trend, now employing more women than men in their WA office.
Women make up just 24% of workers involving in transporting freight and passengers by road, rail, water, or air, and yet at EES Shipping's Cockburn office, they employ 11 women and 10 men.
Among them is a veteran of the industry, Operations Manager Amanda Bradfield, who has been with the company for more than 25 years, after first joining the company as a 17-year-old.
"I started as a runner back when documentation still needed to be physically taken from place to place, and since then I've learned a variety of different roles in the company before ending up in my current position."
"I came to EES after being sent for an interview by a recruitment agency and from there I fell in love with the industry and the opportunities that have been presented, but it sometimes blows my mind that I'm still here all these years later."
Ms Bradfield says her experience as a woman in the industry has been largely positive, and she hasn't felt disadvantaged or discriminated against because of her gender.
"Of course, there are people you deal with along the way who might not always be pleasant, but I've had that experience with both men and women. For the most part, I've felt that women in general have always been welcomed into the industry."
EES Managing Director Brian Hack says the company has never set out to employ a specific number of women but have always focused on hiring the right person for the job.
"While it's currently resulted in us now having more women than men, it's always been about who can do the job best."
"We've always tried to surround ourselves with smart, knowledgeable people, and it just so happens we have a lot of smart, knowledgeable women working with us."
Mr Hack says while all team members bring specific skills and strengths to the team, he does believe women have a natural ability to bring more empathy to their roles.
"That empathy is vital in building genuine, strong relationships, and in our industry that's a huge advantage."
Ms Bradfield says she's never felt as if women have been excluded from the industry, but rather logistical barriers may have made it more difficult for women to enter.
She says addressing a few key issues may help boost the numbers of women employed overall;
Ms Bradfield was a finalist in the recent Women in Industry Awards, Excellence in Transport, and was named a Gold Winner in the 2023 TITAN Women in Business Awards, in the category of Female Executive of the Year.
EES Shipping is one of Australia's major international freight forwarders and plays an extensive role in the promotion and development of overseas markets for Australian manufacturers and suppliers. Led by Brian, Glenn and Shaun Hack, the brothers have a combined decades of experience in the freight forwarding and logistics industry. EES Shipping was named Champion Transport and Logistics at the 2022 Australian Small Business Champion Awards and DCN Freight Forwarder of the Year 2022.