12 Apr 2022

On 30 March, the Women in Cycling Network and Cycling Industries Europe partnered in the webinar, Recruiting More Women in the Cycling Industry, to explore the main bottlenecks and changes needed to diversify the cycling industry and boost women into decision-making positions. The webinar serves as the first in the Women in Cycling’s series on recruitment, generating over 350 registrations and exemplifying the demand of diversity discussions within the cycling industry.

Moderated by Till Kraemer, Headhunter & Founder of BikeBusinessHUB, and Lauha Fried, Women in Cycling Representative and Policy Director at Cycling Industries Europe, the event featured a panel of experts from across the cycling sector:

  • April Marshke, Business Leader, Turbo ebikes and Merchandising, Specialized Bicycles
  • Esther van Garderen, CEO of Fietsersbond
  • Ruth Lopian, Equality Coordinator, DG Mobility and Transport, European Commission
  • Olivia Prud'hon, Human Resources Director at Fifteen


Key Takeaways

1. Only 13% of Applicants for Technical Vacancies are Women

Olivia Prud’hon, HR Director of Fifteen, reported their technical vacancies receive merely 13% of applications from women. As one of Europe’s leading bike share operators, Fifteen found they needed to change the question from “why don’t we recruit more women?” to, “why are there so few women applying?” A sentiment echoed by Ruth Lopian, Equality Coordinator at the European Commission, in which the answer lies in large part in education. With only 22% of women transport workers, the  European Commission developed educational toolkits to help combat gender stereotypes in schools. Meanwhile companies, like Fifteen, have introduced partnerships with schools to encourage more girls to pursue STEM studies and professions.

2. Recruitment Language Matters

“We learned that it’s often in your recruitment language that people aren’t attracted by the language you’re using.” Esther van Garderen, CEO of Fietsersbond, highlighted the diversity blind spot many face in recruitment: just because you think you’re being inclusive, or have the intention to be, doesn’t mean that you are. April Marshke, Business Leader at Specialized, confirmed that it’s exactly this type of implicit bias Specialized is actively trying to deconstruct in their vacancy language with the help of the augmented writing platform, Textio.

3. Inclusion is Everyone’s Job

April demonstrated the evolution of Specialized’s diversity mindset, detailing the journey from what started with a specific taskforce focusing on women’s ridership and products to instead integrating women into every team at Specialized. With both men and women collaborating across various departments, this shift paved way to stronger thought-diversity within the organization, leading to more women in more areas and senior positions, as well as an overall increase in the recruitment of women.

Missed the webinar or want to revisit the conversation? Check out the full recording here.

Are you a woman working in the cycling sector? Join the Women in Cycling Expertise Portal and WIC LinkedIn Group.

Looking to diversify your panels? Find your next speakers via the WIC Expertise Portal!

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