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Back Girls Talk: Would a Career in Logistics Be a Career Option for Me?

On the 11th of October Kuehne+Nagel Finland participated in the International Day of the Girl Child by providing the opportunity for two brave girls to step into the role of Managing Director. During the day, the girls’ task was to prepare an article regarding opportunities for girls in the logistics industry. For this article, the girls interviewed Jens Drewes, President Europe Region at Kuehne+Nagel, and Petri Laitinen, the Managing Director of the Finnish Freight Forwarding and Logistics Association (FIFFLA).

Is the Logistics Industry Right for Me?

The young managing directors imagined the logistics and forwarding industry as a male-dominated, fast-paced industry where the first thing that comes to mind are goods being delivered by big trucks. The girls did not perceive the field of logistics to be suitable for them and a quick research in the web did not change their mind, so they challenged their interviewees with the following questions: What kind of people is logistics suitable for? Do you perceive the logistics industry as a valid career option for girls? What does it take to be successful in the field? 

Jens Drewes compared the logistics industry to an iceberg. You only see 10-15 % of the iceberg, but there is so much more going on below the surface. The logistics industry engages with the rest of the world, so curiosity is necessary for people working within this field – curiosity towards other people, other cultures and an ever-changing world.

Petri Laitinen said that the logistics industry consists of very different and versatile tasks. Gender, age, ethnicity or sexual orientation is irrelevant to working in the field. He raises problem-solving skills, language skills and the ability of getting along with other people as important skills. Every day consists of a large variety of tasks and the playing field is international. 

Workplace Diversity

Both Mr. Drewes and Mr. Laitinen agree that diversity is important, as it gives companies new ideas, offers new ways of thinking and helps creativity flourish. Mr. Drewes himself has worked in several different countries and cultures over the years and he stated that diversity is something worth valuing for. He emphasizes how people of different ages and backgrounds enrich the company’s culture.

How has the Industry Changed During Your Career? 

According to Mr. Laitinen, the logistics sector has not changed over the years, as there has always been a need for forwarders. Mr. Drewes adds that the world has changed and, for example, digitalization has had a significant impact on logistics. Both Mr. Laitinen and Mr. Drewes also highlight environmental awareness as a game changer in the industry. Climate change, carbon neutrality and reducing emissions has become key issues worth focusing on. They underline that the industry offers a great opportunity to anyone who is interested in making a difference in environmental and climate topics.

What Would You Say to Girls Who Are Considering Future Study or Career Opportunities in Logistics? Or Perhaps for Those Who Are Still Unsure of Their Career Choice?

Mr. Laitinen urges everyone to get more familiar with the logistics industry, as perceptions are often quite wrong. According to both interviewees, the industry is diverse and fascinating. Mr. Drewes adds that there are many career paths and job opportunities to choose from. Both encourage young women to keep an open mind and consider logistics as a possible career choice in the future. 

Mr. Drewes' last story made an impact; he had a discussion with a representative of one of the world's leading brands about the logistics industry and its appeal to younger people. One could easily choose a job at the well-known brand, however, the same representative of this brand added, that people should be encouraged that in a big logistics organization, such as Kuehne+Nagel, you get to work with all of the big names and brands, instead of just the one. That is truly a unique opportunity to anyone.

Girls' Thoughts of the Day

The young managing directors’ schedule was busy and filled with work. Regardless, the girls did a great job!  The interviews helped broaden the image of the logistics industry and is just as good career opportunity for girls as any other industry.  The girls were quite nervous regarding doing the interviews, although in hindsight they were the highlights of the day. The girls were also grateful that the two busy gentlemen found the time from their calendar to talk with them. Both Mr. Laitinen and Mr. Drewes thought the topic is important and appreciated the time they spent with the girls.