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DHL Express Female-led Operations Team Grows 46% In 5 Years


  • DHL Express New Zealand’s ‘Women in Operations’ program helps diversify a once male-dominated workplace and promotes women to leadership positions
  • DHL Express New Zealand records the highest number of female employees across the company’s network in Asia Pacific

DHL Express, the world’s leading express service provider, has recorded a 46% increase in the number of female employees in its operations teams since 2016. Today, half of the operations team across New Zealand is made up of females in the traditionally male-dominated sector due to the nature of the tasks. With improvements in technology and manual handling processes, DHL Express New Zealand successfully turned this ‘man’s world’ into one that is much more female-friendly.

“As a first step, we took the conscious decision to create an inclusive and diverse environment within the organization and promoted a female as the Gateway Operations Supervisor for one of the afternoon shifts,” says Francis Saldanha, Human Resources Director, DHL Express New Zealand. With only 4% of female employees in our operations team in 2016, it was a bold move, but it paid off. We’ve slowly but steadily increased the number of female employees across both shifts. We are proud and excited to have 50% of women in our operations team now. Our progress underscores Deutsche Post DHL Group’s commitment to increase the proportion of female executives in management to at least 30 percent by 2025.”

Chitra Shinde, National Operations Manager, DHL Express New Zealand, was one of the first women trainees in gateway operations in DHL Express India. Although she’d never planned for a role in logistics when she started 27 years ago, it’s proved a very successful career choice for her and many other women. “Once you start to attract and retain women in these roles, you get a snowball effect and a healthy representative mix of our communities and gender,” says Shinde. “New Zealand was a pioneer in giving women the vote. We are a progressive and inclusive community. We have women in political and educational leadership roles so it’s not unusual for our women to be confident in operational roles. We have some great role models.”

Petrina Earl is another success story of our diversity in operations. She started out as a DHL courier in Wellington, in 2003 and is now Duty Manager in the Auckland Gateway. “Being in a male-dominated environment was a struggle at times as the team was not used to having a female manager and some found it difficult to accept,” says Earl. She aligned herself with staff and peers who share the same vision and views and by staying true to her beliefs helped make a better environment for everyone. “To see people for who they are and not what they are is a big thing for me. Diversity is incredible and makes us all better in our private and professional lives.”

To ensure a steady pipeline of new female employees, the HR team has set up a School Leavers Program that targets female students who do not wish to further their education due to various socio-economic issues. A Frontline Graduate program aims to attract female graduates from Supply Chain Management diploma courses, and train them for a year in functions such as operations, customer service, finance and customs.

The success of the HR team’s efforts can be seen in the results. As of March 2021, DHL Express New Zealand has the highest female headcount across the DHL Express network in Asia Pacific at 57% and the country’s women in leadership levels are now at 60%.

“We’re really proud of the results,” says Saldanha. “But we’ve not just managed to improve the gender ratio, we’ve also improved our mix of ethnicities and nationalities. The HR team attracts immigrants of different cultures, and strives to improve tolerance and provides a sense of inclusion. We encourage our staff to showcase their culture and educate others and it’s reflected in our motto: ‘All different, together successful.’”

Each year DHL Express internally celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) by asking all staff to post a picture with the internal IWD theme. In 2020 the IWD theme was #EachforEqual, meaning “An equal world is an enabled world”. Staff were encouraged to post a picture making the equal sign to show their support in celebrating women's achievements, raising awareness against bias and taking action for equality. In 2021, the IWD Theme was #ChooseToChallenge, where staff were encouraged to post a picture of themselves with their hand in the air.

DHL – The logistics company for the world

DHL is the leading global brand in the logistics industry. Our DHL divisions offer an unrivalled portfolio of logistics services ranging from national and international parcel delivery, e-commerce shipping and fulfillment solutions, international express, road, air and ocean transport to industrial supply chain management. With about 400,000 employees in more than 220 countries and territories worldwide, DHL connects people and businesses securely and reliably, enabling global sustainable trade flows. With specialized solutions for growth markets and industries including technology, life sciences and healthcare, engineering, manufacturing & energy, auto-mobility and retail, DHL is decisively positioned as “The logistics company for the world”.

DHL is part of Deutsche Post DHL Group. The Group generated revenues of more than 66 billion euros in 2020. With sustainable business practices and a commitment to society and the environment, the Group makes a positive contribution to the world. Deutsche Post DHL Group aims to achieve zero-emissions logistics by 2050.

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