Women Employment in Urban Public Transport Sector

WISE - Results
Helsinki Work Meeting - companies Nobina, PL and PKL

Finland (and other Scandinavian countries) is often used as a good example on gender equality. One example is the country’s legislative and social infrastructure, which have supported women’s strong employment.

Share of women in all companies
In Helsinki, three urban public transport companies Nobina (Nobina Finland Oy), PL (Pohjolan Liikenne Ab) and PKL (Pohjolan Kaupunkiliikenne Oy) have taken part in the Work Meeting. In general, the share of women in all companies ranges between 5 and 13%.

Activities on gender equality at Nobina, PL and PKL
At Nobina, the biggest urban public transport company in Helsinki with about 2000 employees and 38 million passengers per year, the average percentage of female employees is about 6%. Similar to the situation at BVG in Berlin, this percentage varies with the different departments between 0% (mechanics), 5% (drivers) and 27% (administration). So the share of women in administrational professions (white-collar workers) is much higher, than the share in drivers’/mechanics’ professions (blue collar).
Measures of the company on gender equality issues include a “Gender Equality Plan”, in which values, the HR-policy as well as the equality and diversity policy of the company are included. Furthermore, Nobina offers individual development discussions to its employees as well as vocational training. These initiatives are not focused on women and offered to every employee. Furthermore Nobina is in close cooperation with training institutes, from which about 50% of new employees are recruited. For recruiting (female) youngsters leaving secondary school, Nobina has participated in the annual national fair “NextStep” and the transport sector’s national recruitment project “Kuljetusala.com”.

At PL and PKL, with together 754 employees and 22.7 million passengers per year, the total woman share is about 13.4%. Here the percentage also differs per department with 0% technicians, 13 % drivers and about 27% employees working in the administration. Although there is not a certain strategy or campaign for recruiting more women, PL closely cooperates with training institutes. In the last few years it has recruited 2 drivers’ training groups consisting of only women. PL also participated in the project “Kuljetusala.com” mentioned above.

General characteristics of the situation in Finland
During the Work Meeting it became obvious that the companies are approaching the issue of women employment by focusing on gender aspects rather than on initiatives for women only. Further challenging aspects for women employment in the companies include the relatively low job tenure due to the employees’ fluctuation and the instability of the market, which makes finding personnel generally difficult (not only women). Another interesting fact is the source of recruiting employees: The companies mentioned above recruit their personnel from the Estonian and Eastern European labour market as well as from the Finnish construction industry, with which the urban public transport sector closely collaborates.