HTM | International Women’s Day 2023
HTM celebrate International Women’s Day by speaking with women across their business about what it’s like working as a woman within traffic management.
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is to embrace equity, with the definition meaning to “create a fair and equal world”. As a business and industry that is predominantly made up of men, equity is something that we all need to work towards to create a diverse and inclusive workforce.
HTM are aware of this imbalance and have already started working towards improving this through the Target 40 campaign, which looks to encourage more women into the industry and to help reach a target of 40 women into operational roles. Once this has been reached, the company will then set its sights on reaching 40% of its operational workforce to be made up of women.
“Through the campaign, we’ve set up a female engagement working group that provides the opportunity for feedback from those in operational roles, as well as ensuring people can easily connect with other women within the business. We’ve already been able to listen to this feedback and look at ways to ensure that traffic management can be made more attractive to women, from our approach to flexible working and to simply having a safe space that feedback can be shared.” said Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Flora Donnelly.
But it’s not just operational roles that are available. There are plenty of career avenues within the industry, many of which may not be known by both women and men. By ensuring that more people are aware of all the opportunities available and career paths that sit within traffic management, the industry can welcome a more diverse workforce and reap the benefits that this can bring.
Having women in senior roles is also something to shout about, with women making up only 30% of leadership roles in the UK, according to LinkedIn data. This is something that needs to be acknowledged when trying to attain new talent and ensure that the industry is attractive to female recruits.
Flora continued: “One of the first things that I noticed when I joined HTM was that there’s a female at Director level. It goes to show that as a woman, I can aspire to progress within the business.”
Traffic Management Operative, Sharon Yates, spoke about her preconceptions when she first joined the industry: “I was a bit worried thinking ‘would I fit in being a woman.’ It is mostly a male environment. But it was absolutely fine, I had no problems. Any worries that I did have were blown out the water because everybody made you feel welcome.”
HTM’s HR Manager, Lucinda Sturman, commented: “I think there’s a lot of opinions out there that women should be in certain roles that are seen as traditionally female. That doesn’t suit everybody and there are some great females out there who would make amazing operatives.”
“As we’ve grown, we’ve looked to employ people with specialist knowledge in certain areas, as well as provide entry level positions to support organic growth from the ground up. We’ve had people come from all sorts of backgrounds before joining the business, with a lot of people not having awareness of the industry beforehand.” advised Tracy Rogers, HTM’s Finance Director.
As well as supporting longstanding careers for women within the business, such as Tracy, who has been with the company for over 27 years, HTM has also welcomed more women into the industry from different backgrounds.
“Prior to working in traffic management I was a travel agent – very different to dealing with signs and cones. Being out on site and meeting all the different operatives helped me grow my knowledge of the TM industry.” said Kayleigh Sheward, HTM’s HSEQ Administrator who joined in 2022.
People will drive through diversions and come across road closures on a regular basis, but they won’t stop to think about the opportunities that sit within traffic management or that this entire TM world exists. Creating opportunities for women means looking at the ways they can be supported into the industry. For Cheri, this meant experiencing two weeks out on the road before starting her position as a Compliance Administrator. She now works in the role of Transport Administrator Monday to Friday, often working as a traffic management operative once a week at weekends.
“Being out on the road and gaining the tickets that I do have has allowed me to understand, now working in the transport department, anything that is going on out there. I can’t thank HTM enough for the opportunities that I have been given in the short space of time that I have been here,” said Cheri.
There’s a wide variety of roles within traffic management that can suit different people, be it out on the road or supporting operations from an office-based role.
If you’re considering a career in traffic management, find out more about HTM’s existing opportunities, at: www.htmltd.co.uk/jobs