As part of the Asia Pacific (APAC) Leadership Development Program, Agility leaders took on a “stretch assignment” to identify how to increase the pipeline of female employees transitioning to executive and director-level positions within the company. Working across 15 countries, the group gathered data and conducted a perception survey to understand the current state of women leadership in Agility and build the business case for women’s empowerment. In interviews, external experts provided guidance on how to implement successful women’s empowerment programs based on experience from other companies.
Based on the evidence, a strong majority of surveyed women feel that their managers support gender equality and women’s career development, allow for flexible working arrangements, and do not assume that women with families are not interested in career advancement. However, a few key challenges will need to be overcome in order to reach an ambitious goal of a 30% increase in women’s participation in leadership positions.
From the mix of internal and external information, the team was able to identify where to prioritize, as well as how to implement programs that work. First, Agility must improve the regularity of data on gender indicators, including gender pay differentials and maternity leave return rates. Second, leadership should engage more proactively on the topic. Lastly, the logistics industry must grapple with low proportions of female candidates at the junior level. According to the findings from this project, Agility APAC is working to increase women's leadership in the region. For example, the proportion of women selected for the regional Management Development Program jumped from 10% to 50% from 2015 to 2018.