I was thinking about how it feels to work in the relocation industry in the midst of the #MeToo and #Timesup movements. I have been in relocation for over 20 years, and the thing that is a truism about the relocation industry is that, by the numbers, it is dominated by women. Certainly, from my experience at two relocation companies, I can definitely say that the industry is dominated by women. In addition, the important role in relocation played by Human Resources is dominated by women. However, if you scratch a little deeper than that, the story changes a little bit. Moving is part of the relocation industry and it is strongly male dominated. And in the relocation business, there are probably some of the highest positions of power that are out of reach to women, which should not be the case. I did some poking around on this, which you can see at the end of this article.
An industry dominated by women
I have been at this business too long to even imagine an industry not dominated by women. However, I will talk about my experience at All Points. I have had the honour and privilege of working with some of the best minds and talents in relocation – and, in this case, I am specifically referring to incredible women. From those that have passed on, such as Joanne Sabourin, to those that have retired such as Deb Macdonell, to those that I continue to work with including Audrey Adams, Sarah Chandler, Maria Dizon and Nadine Borch (and there are many I am not mentioning ) – I have definitely worked with incredible talents that have made me better at what I do and who have contributed every day to making All Points a better company. I am actually not always an easy guy to work with, so even more kudos to them for doing more than putting up with me – working closely with me to get out the best product and service that the company can put forth.
So, at this time of the #MeToo movement, I can’t even begin to understand those that run companies that are male dominated and whose male workers get paid more than their female counterparts and whose female counterparts are precluded from the most important positions of power. It is simply not my experience. My experience is simple: women are not only as capable as men, they have been crucial to shaping the relocation industry. The service we deliver has to not only be about the business, but it has to have a heart – to take someone through one of the greatest stressors in life, to relocate to a new and different place – this service should and must have a female voice involved in creating and managing the process.
Can we do more?
So, I go back to my statement: I can’t begin to understand those that run companies that are male dominated and whose male workers get paid more than their female counterparts – and I am proud that I can’t begin to understand it. If I think through some of the companies that I admire most in the relocation industry, they have strong women in positions of power. If I think of some the HR representatives I most admire, most of them are women. My experience shows that an industry that is dominated by women can be empathetic, caring and intelligent and successful at every step. There is only one thing that I would say in conclusion: my gut instincts tell me that there still could be more at the tippy-top of some relocation companies and moving companies and this industry would be even better. The best I could do to test out any theory about women in a position of power was to check out the prospectus of a company that tried to go public a few years ago, and it showed a ratio of 4 women to 15 men in executive positions or director positions. It also showed an income gap, and at least in one case there was an income gap between a woman and man with equivalent titles. So I will stay with my gut instinct and suggest that even in an industry dominated by women, there is likely more that needs to be done.