Increasing share of women working in the rail sector

On 2 February 2015, the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) published their second annual report on the development of women employment in the rail sector in Europe.

The results show that the average share of women working in the rail is increasing and currently stands at around 20%. The differences between countries remain high, with Lithuania employing the biggest share of women. As already highlighted in previous reports, the average share of women employment in the rail sector is higher in the Eastern European countries compared to the rest of Europe.

According to the report, the share of women among on-board personnel (30.6%) is most considerable, followed by traffic management (20.3%) and company management (19%), as well as engineering (17.2%). The share of women undergoing vocational training within the railway companies lies at 23.4 %.

Flexible working time, reduced working time and sabbaticals are highlighted as the most popular measures to improve the work-life balance of railway employees. Popular measures to promote the employment and career development of women are initiatives such as improving health and hygienic conditions, awareness-raising measures for Human Resources departments and managerial staff, as well as reviewing recruitment procedures. Out of the participating companies, every fifth company has a dedicated equal opportunities department or unit.

CER Executive Director Libor Lochman said: “It is positive to see a growing number of women working in the rail sector. I believe that this is a trend which is not going to stop in the coming years.”

ETF Deputy General Secretary Sabine Trier highlighted: “It is great to see that more and more companies are taking part in this annual survey. Together with the slight increase of the average rate of women employment in rail, it shows that railway companies are committed to make this sector an even more attractive area for women to work in. But there is still much room for improvement. The CER/ETF 2007 Joint Recommendations and the WIR 2010 Report make valuable suggestions.”

The number of companies participating in the survey increased considerably from 24 companies in 19 countries in 2013 to 39 companies in 21 countries in 2014. Altogether, the participating companies employed 887 300 railway workers in Europe in 2013. Surveys will be provided annually to evaluate the efforts and measures of European railway companies to ensure equality between women and men.

The report can be downloaded here.