How the Transport Sector Can Be a Successful Force for Change

A defining feature of the Intuitive approach is looking beyond the obvious to offer our clients real choice. We’re proud to have an exceptional network of outstanding, diverse candidates that truly suit our client’s needs on strategic and cultural levels. In fact, nearly 40% of our senior leadership placements hail from a non-transport background – a number we’re always striving to add to.

The Intuitive team and I wanted to share why connecting clients with candidates from outside of the transport sector is so important to us, and how this approach can benefit your organisation, too.


1. Being inclusive is an utmost priority for us

Intuitive are passionate about connecting the very best leaders with the wonderful world of rail and transport and all the fantastic opportunity it offers. We firmly and wholeheartedly believe that talented, high potential leaders from diverse backgrounds should be joining us at the transport table in greater numbers, including those who’ve achieved their success in a different sector.

As such, encouraging diverse candidates to consider transport as their next step – and making these introductions to our clients – is an important priority for our Talent Consultancy and one that aligns with the direction transport is headed.

Transport is a brilliant sector to be part of, and we’re dedicated to being a catalyst for those from non-transport and other diverse backgrounds to have their ideas and perspectives heard, and their experience and skills celebrated.


Caroline and I have kept in touch since we met, having recently returned from overseas. She took the time to understand my career background and learn about me as a human. She checked in every few months to see how I was getting on and settling in. Because of her personal approach, when she did message me with an opportunity, and I responded straight away as I trusted her

– Sian Leydon, Executive Director at Arriva Group, with a background in aviation and utilities.


Our clients increasingly request that we put forward candidates that are different from the “usual suspects”, knowing how much value and reward is just waiting to be untapped. In fact, at the recent National Rail Conference, Anit Chandarana, Lead Director at GBRTT explained that for “encouraging new people into the rail sector is key.  Rail is the 3rd best sector in terms of social value. The National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR) is aiming for 1 in 5 new starters in rail to come from disadvantaged backgrounds”.


2. It better positions transport for change and challenges ahead

Sir Peter Hendy, Chairman for Network Rail is enthusiastic about the future of the sector, saying that “we are on the cusp of great opportunities for the railways”.

With pivotal change accelerating toward us in the shape of the Net Zero Strategy, digitalisation and wider Government Levelling Up agenda, now is the time to adapt and innovate, creating a brighter and more sustainable future for a sector at the heart of society. To be a successful force of change, transport is thinking differently and central to this is tapping into the insights, abilities and strategies of non-transport leaders.

Essentially, the whole transport sector needs the best diverse talent to achieve its ambitious and exciting objectives. Organisation leaders want to build powerhouse teams – combining the depth and breadth of knowledge of those with extensive sector knowledge, with the fresh perspectives and varied skills of new additions. Intuitive share this ethos and make sure that a balance of transport specialists and proven leaders from wider backgrounds are represented in our candidate shortlists.

In potentially just a few years, it’s likely that much of the infrastructure and passenger services delivered by transport organisations will be unrecognisable: the effects of environmental and digital transformation are well underway. It’s critical that as many perspectives are understood as possible, and that the best talent is leading from the front.


3. Looking outside the sector just makes sense!

All the above said, it’s often that sweet spot between shared values, specific attributes and diverse career backgrounds where you’ll find the leaders most likely to drive real change.

There is an abundance of talent thriving in alternative sectors that face similar underlying pressures as transport. For example, we have found that leaders from communications, finance, utilities, pharmaceutical, medical, automotive, aviation, logistics and retail often possess exceptional transferable skills such as problem mitigation, rapid problem solving, conflict management, technological literacy and making immediate connections with others.

These alignments mean two things. Firstly, that organisations can trust a transport first-timer to deliver and fit well culturally. And secondly, that a leader will bring with them disruptive approaches, bold ideas or even just slight tweaks that can elevate results to something truly special.


From the moment that I spoke with Caroline it was clear that she was very passionate and genuinely committed to ensure that she carried out the right due-diligence to match the perfect candidate with the right client role

– Colette Casey, Customer Director at Cross Country Trains, with a background in aviation.


4. Fairer, more effective transport for all

This leads us to reflect on the observation of Wendy Morton MP, Minster of State for the Department for Transport, who notes that transport has “got to modernise, so it really works for everyone”. Ultimately, bolstering your team with leaders who’ve experienced career success and challenges in the wider workforce allows transport to better understand the passenger experience and benefit from the greatest possible talent pool.

Intuitive is proud to have a candidate network comprising both longstanding transport professionals and proven leaders from a diverse array of aligned sectors. To learn more about joining our network or to discuss your hiring requirements, just send us a message here. We’d love to hear from you!

WE would love to get to know you!

Please do give us a call, drop us a message or follow us on Twitter & Linkedin!

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