What led you to taking up a role as a forklift driver at Amazon?
Before taking up my role at Amazon, I’d been operating machinery at various companies for over 30 years. I’ve been in this line of work for a while, so it’s been great to watch it change and evolve with the times. I’ve been with the team at the Amazon Melbourne fulfilment centre since it opened – I love that I’ve been with the team since the beginning. I decided to move to Amazon because of the great things I’d heard about the culture, both at the management level and on the floor, in addition to the great opportunities available for employees to upskill in.
What have been some of the challenges or interesting insights that you’ve gathered from working in a male-dominated sector like machinery and logistics?
I think companies have become more open and willing to hire women into stereotypically male roles. Us women are great at running heavy machinery! In my opinion, we tend to have high attention to detail which is important in this line of work.
What I’ve found is that the more diverse the team, the better. In my years of experience, I’ve seen a real shift towards making sure our teams have a great mix of people. Previously, I’ve worked in roles where men have held the leadership roles in management, whilst females have run the floor. However, it’s important to have different skills and experiences on the team – it makes for an interesting and inclusive culture and encourages the success of women to build their future careers.
I feel this is really put into action at Amazon and there is visibility of all genders amongst leadership roles on the team, as well as in more traditionally male-dominated roles.
What have been some of the ways that Amazon has encouraged and supported women in the fulfilment centre?
Amazon has a great system of upskilling new and incoming employees, like offering training to achieve a forklift licence. Having that resource and opportunity really helps women to feel empowered to get involved. Since being with Amazon, I’ve seen several women approached to be trained in operating heavy machinery. It’s incredibly exciting to see these biases being broken and that the encouragement of women into these roles is now just commonplace at Amazon.
We also have a community board inside the fulfilment centre where anyone can contribute their ideas and suggestions on how we could do things better or differently at work. Whether it be team bonding ideas, or operational stuff, anything goes! We all get involved in this because our suggestions are truly listened to, with our managers taking each note into consideration. This is great for those people who prefer to speak their mind in their own time.
At Amazon, the difference lies within the people. The diverse range of women working here goes beyond gender and includes people of all different religions, ages, and cultures. It really is a place for everyone. We’re all different but we work as a big team to get the job done.
Ultimately we’re all here to put smiles on the faces of Aussie customers as they receive their Amazon packages. I think Amazon has done a great job of making women feel supported by showing that they encourage and value all women – no matter where you’ve come from. It’s also creating a culture of diversity and inclusivity for women, working with a diverse group of people allows for broader and different perspectives to feed into an approach, to make holistic decisions.
Why do you think there aren’t more female forklift drivers and what is stopping them from taking those roles?
The stigma and stereotype is certainly a barrier for some people when thinking about future prospects and opportunities. The idea that operating big machinery, like forklifts, is a job for men can stop women from realising their potential in these roles.
To feel inspired to take up a machinery role, I think it’s important for women to see themselves in all areas of the business, from the floor to leadership positions, so they feel seen and supported wherever they want to be. I think more women would be more interested in male-dominated industries and career paths, after seeing women succeed within those roles, in addition to having a clear career progression. For me, having female leaders in all different roles has really helped me to feel empowered at work and encouraged in the work that I do. You need support from women at all levels – which Amazon does really well.
For any women out there interested in exploring this line of work, I encourage you wholeheartedly and believe Amazon is an ideal starting point for those looking to embark on this career path.