Diversity is more than just an HR buzzword; it can provide answers to many of the challenges facing the logistics sector. As such, a unique event has been created to highlight the benefits that diversity can bring.

“Diversity is the art of thinking independently together.” Those were the wise words of American entrepreneur Malcolm Forbes and they are more pertinent today than ever before. Like other industries, the logistics sector is facing a variety of challenges brought about by rapidly rising consumer expectations. Essential to meeting these challenges is harnessing the diversity of all available talent.

In recent decades, social barriers have broken down and companies have increasingly come
to understand that not everyone fits the same mould. This is good news for the logistics sector. As a nation, we are a diverse mix of genders, ethnic backgrounds, abilities and beliefs, so it should follow that all employers embrace the wealth of talent available when recruiting and engaging staff.

Driven by a vision to promote the importance of diversity across the logistics sector, multimedia marketing company, Nimble Media, has partnered with Talent in Logistics (TIL) to create a unique event, The Big Logistics Diversity Challenge. This inaugural event, taking place on 24 June 2020, will be a huge team building opportunity and will be held at Newark Showground in the heart of the East Midlands.

The Diversity Challenge event series was first launched in 2016. Since then the event has provided opportunities for companies to come together in an informal environment to undertake a range of mental and physical challenges. Rail companies, in particular, have benefited from greater diversity and teamwork since taking part in the event series. It is a testament to this success that the event has now been expanded to encompass the entire logistics sector.

Equality, diversity and inclusion are at the core of The Big Logistics Diversity Challenge. As such, the event will bring together logistics professionals to work collaboratively through fun physical and mental team challenges. The event will also provide a platform for the industry to share best practice. Following the momentum building in logistics, it is hoped that The Big Logistics Diversity Challenge can set the agenda for how this can become a truly inclusive sector.

An “ideal” partnership

Talent in Logistics (TIL), the event’s delivery partner, shares the dedication to the recruitment, development, engagement and retention of the 2.5 million plus people working in logistics. TIL was specifically developed to support logistics employers and is, therefore, the ideal partner for The Big Logistics Diversity Challenge. The objective of TIL is to encourage these companies to address skills, training and career progression to retain exceptional staff and attract new employees.

“With equality, diversity and inclusion high on our agenda for 2020, teaming up with Nimble Media seemed like the ideal fit for us to showcase something we are extremely passionate about,” says Ruth Edwards, Business Development Director for TIL. To emphasise the importance of the event, Ruth cites recent Freight Transport Association (FTA) research suggesting that the sector remains a white- male dominated space. “This event is the perfect platform for logistics companies to showcase that they too believe in the benefits of creating an inclusive culture,” she says, “as well as bringing some workplace fun to their teams.

“We are very much looking forward to supporting The Big Logistics Diversity Challenge for 2020 and hope to see a lot of familiar and new faces take part in such a unique event for the sector.”

This year’s event will also be held in support of international development charity Transaid. The organisation was founded by Save the Children, the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) and its patron, HRH The Princess Royal. Transaid has more than 20 years’ expertise in multiple countries with partners and governments and has empowered people to build the skills they need to transform their lives through safe, accessible and sustainable transport. Transaid identifies champions and shares local transport solutions to improve access to basic services and economic opportunity for people in developing countries.

“We are delighted to support Talent in Logistics through The Big Logistics Diversity Challenge,” says Florence Bearman, Head of Fundraising for Transaid. As a global organisation working with individuals and organisations across both sub-Saharan Africa and throughout the UK transport and logistics industry, Transaid understands the importance of diversity. “We fully support the promotion of inclusivity in the workforce,” Florence adds, “and we are looking forward to partnering with The Big Logistics Diversity Challenge and finding out what’s in store for the teams involved in the challenge in 2020.”

However, the sector has yet to truly harness the wealth of talent available. The 2019 FTA logistics report confirmed that the sector continues to be dominated by male workers (86 per cent), with the proportion of women in the sector only at 13.2 per cent in Q1. Considering these statistics, it won’t be easy for the logistics sector to make significant gains in diversification. However, the companies that succeed will have access to a rich new labour pool. It is, therefore, crucial that the logistics sector heeds the words of Mr Forbes and does not become a stranger to the concept of diversity.

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