Increasing the Recruitment and Retention of Women in the Transportation Industry
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Increasing the Recruitment and Retention of Women in the Transportation Industry

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    This report summarizes two projects that were study was based on the notion that an in-depth exploration of women’s experience in the transportation industry might enlighten industry professionals about what approaches are best for recruiting and retaining women in the transportation industry. Project #1 consisted of focus groups with women currently in transportation positions. Two broad questions were developed in order to focus attention on gathering data that would lead to a textural description and a structural description of the qualitative experiences of the participants: What is your experience as a woman in the transportation industry? And what contexts or situations have influenced or affected your experience as a woman in the transportation industry? Results suggest that women take entrylevel positions due to wanting stable employment and have found this within the transportation industry. Both managerial and non-managerial level women reported finding barriers to promotion and they found it helpful to have a mentor, and that matching one’s skills and values to that of the industry were positively correlated with job satisfaction, liking ones job, and career satisfaction. Perceived barriers for recruiting and retaining women in transportation included good pay and benefits, earning respect from knowing your job, job security, and opportunities for growth. Personality traits that were related to success in the transportation industry include being assertive, confident, reliable, ability to see the “big picture,” and having a “thick skin.” The purpose of the Project #2 was to identify predictors of career choice and stability in the transportation industry in order to create a profile that could be used to recruit and retain female transportation employees. Following on the results of the information obtained from the focus groups in Project #1 a survey based on Super’s (1973) work values theory, Organizational Commitment (Meyer & Allen (1997), Supervisor Support, Job Satisfaction, Holland’s (1973) six occupational types (RIASEC), and a set of general questions were developed and distributed to female students and professionals at various settings and gatherings including transportation. A total of 187 useable questionnaires were obtained and analyzed. Results from descriptive statistics, comparisons of means and hierarchical stepwise regression analyses provided data on the relative contribution of values, interests, organizational commitment, supervision, job preference, and job satisfaction as they affect career choice and change in transportation professionals and the general population. Results of this study revealed three main predictors of career change: feeling like your values are being met at current job, your organization’s values and mission are worth supporting, and reliance on your immediate supervisor when things get tough at work. The results also yielded statistically significant models of career choice that accounted for 64.5% of the variance in pursuit and 77% of the variance in acceptance of transportation jobs. The models indicated that women interested in practical hands on work tasks, and in a predictable and somewhat routine environment are more likely to want to accept a position in transportation. Women who are interested in leadership, work challenges involving problem solving and variety in tasks are also more likely to pursue a career in transportation. Women who have an interest in a more social and interactive work environment, and an environment that is artistic are less likely to pursue a career in transportation. Being confident of success and being an effective employee along with an awareness of the possibility that these are male dominated jobs is predictive of a greater likelihood of pursuing a job in transportation.
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