Safely transporting the raw materials, products and finished goods that sustain the nation’s economy and people require a team of tens of thousands of skilled and dedicated people.

Having a diverse workforce promotes greater innovation and productivity by leveraging the strengths of different talents, skills and perceptions. As freight railroads continue to transform their workforce to keep pace with rapidly changing technologies, evolving rail traffic patterns and transportation competition, women are helping lead the charge. Consider some of these milestones:

  • Forbes magazine recently selected Norfolk Southern as one of America’s best employers for women.
  • Mogul — a global platform devoted to women’s advancement — named Union Pacific one of the top 1,000 companies worldwide for millennial women in 2018.
  • CP recently named its first woman — Isabelle Courville — to lead its Board of Directors beginning in May 2019.
  • Half of the senior team at AAR are women and we are a leading cooperate partner of the League of Railway Women (LRIW), which “is committed to improving the railroad industry by connecting and cultivating women in rail.”
  • Lisa Stabler, LRIW’s Women of the Year in 2017, is the President of the Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI) and helps lead the latest rail industry research to develop and test new technologies that improve rail safety, reliability and efficiency.
  • Railinc — the leading provider of near rail-time network data to North America’s railroads — employs multiple women within their senior team, including Joan Smemoe as their Chief Information Officer and Cathelene Thomas as their Chief of Staff.

From engineering and dispatching to law enforcement, information technology, industrial development and administrative support, freight railroads open doors to women from a wide range of backgrounds.

Not only are these jobs launching pads for a lifelong career (many railroaders tend to spend their entire careers in the industry), they are among the highest paying in the country. The nation’s roughly 165,000 rail employees average $120,000 per year in compensation, including benefits. By contrast, in 2017, the average full-time employee compensation, including benefits, in the U.S. was $76,500.

And with nearly 20% of rail employees veterans, railroads are also military-friendly employers.

As freight railroads move the entire country into the future, they will continue to focus on recruiting and maintaining a strong, diverse workforce in the years to come.