Women in Front of Train

The Path Forward: Moving the needle for women in transportation

We are committed to building a more inclusive business at Siemens Mobility and creating development opportunities for women both inside and outside of our organization to take our industry to the next level.

 

Innovation is fueled by diverse perspectives and is at the core of our business at Siemens Mobility. So when we think about driving innovation in our industry, we need to consider whose voices are missing from the conversation.

 

In my current position as CEO of Siemens Mobility North America, my first job out of college in a factory and every role in-between, I’ve seen the power of women in transportation first-hand; and yet, they remain largely unrepresented in the industry. Women now make up more than 50% of transit passengers, but less than 15% of transportation workers across the US.

 

To successfully move the future of transportation forward, our industry needs to be representative of the country we live in and the passengers riding our trains. As I prepare to attend the Advancing Women in Transportation (WTS) Conference in Seattle later this month our leadership team and  a group of top talents from across our business, I’ve been reflecting on the path forward for empowering women in transportation.

 

Over the past five years at Siemens Mobility, we’ve focused on recruiting more women into traditionally male-dominated transportation roles like project management, engineering, and manufacturing and the impact on the organization has been significant. Our warehouses and factories have gotten more productive, we’ve continued to develop cutting-edge and accessible technology for our customers and our quarterly employee feedback surveys have indicated a greater feeling of inclusivity and belonging for most employees across the business.

 

Women in our organization are breaking barriers to help others navigate the industry more easily in the future. In fact, over the past two years, two of our stand-out female talents have been named as Progressive RailRoading’s Annual Rising Stars: Kimberly Howe, Supply Chain Logistics Manager (2021), and Jacqueline Colvis, Customer Success Manager (2022), for their exceptional career development and contributions to their fields. That’s the power of tapping into diversity and a larger talent pool.

 

We still have work to do, but the point is this: there are a lot of benefits to having more women in every industry, but the transportation industry has a need for greater female representation in STEM and manufacturing roles.

 

Beyond recruiting more women to the business, I’ve seen immense value in promoting female talent at all levels in our organization. Having more women in leadership has created a “domino effect” of sorts – improving retention for more junior women in the company who see a woman leading their team that could potentially be a mentor to them. It’s also given a platform to different leadership styles that have empowered employees and areas of the business I hadn’t realized were being held back.

 

A quote from Shoua Vang, Production Supervisor at our Rolling Stock manufacturing factory in Sacramento, frames this idea nicely:

 

“I think as a female leader the way I think about and organize the job is different than that of my male counterparts. I prioritize meeting my team on a more emotional level and create bonds and relationships with the people I manage. With that level of trust, our team is able to perform well, succeed in our roles and create the best transportation out there that gets Americans from point A to point B.” – Shoua Vang, Production Supervisor, Siemens Mobility North America.

 

At the end of the day, however, diversifying the transportation industry doesn’t just come down to recruiting and empowering women in leadership. It requires us to think more long-term about how to open the door for more women to pursue STEM degrees.

 

Without the proper foundation to enter the field and the continued—but hopefully evolving—view of transportation as a male-industry, it’s considerably more difficult for women to pursue and excel in careers in transportation. This isn’t something we can change overnight, but a challenge to tackle as we move forward.

 

Exploring these topics at the upcoming Advancing Women in Transportation (WTS) Conference with innovators across our business and industry is only the first step when it comes to moving the needle for women in transportation. We are committed to building a more inclusive business at Siemens Mobility and creating development opportunities for women both inside and outside of our organization to take our industry to the next level.

 

I am excited to continue on the path forward for women in transportation and excited to attend this event with our leadership team and well, it sure would be great if we can look back a few years from now see a noticeable change.

 

Written By:

Marc Buncher, CEO

Siemens Mobility Inc.