ARA launches groups for career development

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) has created two LinkedIn groups to support women and young people in the industry.

The groups will create a space for discussion and career development, as part of the associations efforts to support women and young people working in rail.

As many workplaces have shifted to working from home and interactions online are becoming the norm, ARA CEO Caroline Wilkie said that discussions should continue, even when they are not face-to-face.

“With so many of us spending more time working away from the office, this is the ideal opportunity to build your social networks and be part of the discussion on the future of our industry.”

The groups are also open to those supporting and mentoring women and young peoples’ careers in rail.

“Our Women in Rail Network will bring together the many people in our industry that are championing diversity and supporting rich and rewarding careers for women in rail,” said Wilkie.

“I look forward to seeing past participants of the ARA Women in Rail Mentoring Program joining the network as we provide a space for conversation with those both old and new to the industry.”

For young rail professionals, many of whom will be the ones carrying out the expected infrastructure stimulus spending that will follow the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the space will provide a peer-support network as well as advice from those who have been in the industry already.

“The Young Rail Professionals Network will bring together the next generation of leaders in rail as we prepare for a new wave of investment in the industry over the next decade,” said Wilkie.

“Recruiters and managers will be encouraged to share their insights on building a successful career in rail to support young professionals as they chart their own path in the industry.”

The groups are open to ARA members, and will include case studies, news, and opportunities for collaboration, as well as personal stories and discussion.

“This is the ideal opportunity for our members to lead the conversation on issues that are important to them and help us shape the future of our industry in the process,” said Wilkie.

Proportion of women in rail growing: ARA Survey

More women than ever are participating in the rail industry, survey results released today show.

The Australasian Rail Association’s (ARA) 2018-2019 Gender Diversity Survey has recorded a six per cent improvement in the percentage of women in the rail workforce. Women now make up 27 per cent of the rail industry workforce. 22 per cent of management roles are now held by women, a 3 per cent increase.

Announcing the results, ARA CEO Caroline Wilkie said that while the figures are positive, there is more that can be done.

“While it is great to see these improvements across the industry, women’s participation in rail remains below the national average and shows there is still more work to do.”

The sector also saw a dramatic jump in the number of organisations that have employer funded paid parental leave, rising from 16 per cent in 2016-2017 to 62 per cent in 2018-2019.

The survey builds upon the ARA’s Women in Rail Strategy, which was launched in 2017. The Strategy focuses on attraction and promotion, improved networks, retention, and national benchmarking to encourage gender diversity in the rail industry.

The survey has highlighted organisations within the rail industry that are making a concerted effort to have a gender diverse workforce. 86 per cent of organisations have formal policies or strategies to support gender diversity, and over half have specific recruitment policies or strategies to improve gender balance. Furthermore, three quarters had policies in support of flexible work arrangements in place.

“We have seen a really strong push to attract more women to the industry and retain those already in the industry since our last survey and expect to see further improvements on these outcomes in the near future,” said Wilkie.

The survey included responses from 42 organisations working in the rail industry, which combined represent over 50,000 employees.

The sector with the highest proportion of women were consultants, with 38 per cent. Consultants also had the highest proportion of respondents with gender diversity policies or strategies, with 100 per cent of respondents reporting a policy or sector.

Women made up a lower proportion of non-manger roles such as clerical and administrative roles, and sales roles in the 2018-2019 survey, however the proportion of women in technicians and trade and labourers roles rose. There were jumps in the proportion of women in key management personnel, other executives/general managers, and senior managers.