The trucking industry is one of the most essential wheels of the US economy. Although men have historically predominated in the trucking industry, more and more women are deciding to pursue careers as professional truck drivers. According to the Women in Trucking (WIT) Association, the Department of Labor, and the truck sector as a whole have been considerably more inclusive of women over the years.
With an unprecedentedly high demand for truck drivers to address the driver shortage and the industry’s excellent pay packages, now is an ideal moment for women to consider trucking as a career option. Some advantages of the career include an unequaled amount of liberty in comparison to other businesses and the opportunity to travel while still earning a living. However, poor female representation and prejudice are common concerns for women seeking to enter the trucking profession.
Read on to learn about women in trucking and how to support them.
Important Women Trucking Statistics
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, just 12.4% of trucking transportation industry jobs will be female in 2020. However, there has lately been a significant movement to increase the number of female truck drivers on the road. According to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, women drivers are 20% less likely to be involved in a collision than their male counterparts.
What Are the Concerns and Challenges for Women in Trucking?
Before entering the trucking profession, you may be curious about what it’s like to be a female truck driver. To become a part of something special and a chance to make a difference and contribute to our nation’s supply chain is the meaning of becoming a truck driver.
Female truck drivers, on the other hand, encounter several challenges in entering and remaining in the field. They are also concerned about representation and safety, given hit is a traditionally male-dominated sport. Female truck drivers may be treated differently than male truck drivers. They may not be chosen as frequently for large hauls, may be subjected to improper approaches, and may hear negative remarks about their labor.
Work schedules can be difficult for female truck drivers, who might benefit from more flexible work arrangements. Fair remuneration is still an issue. Furthermore, if the fleet lacks an inclusive corporate culture, the female driver may be discouraged or supported in professional growth or career promotion.
All of this can lower driver morale and make it more difficult for companies to retain skilled female truck drivers.
Current State of Industry for Women Truck Drivers
The proportion of women who work as over-the-road (OTR) truck drivers is 13.7%, but it’s also crucial to understand that women occupy a variety of roles in the sector. The percentages of women in significant roles in the transportation business are as follows, according to the 2022 Women In Trucking Index:
- C-suite executives: 33.8%
- Company leaders: 39.6%
- Board of Directors: 31%
- HR/Talent management: 74.9%
- Technicians: 3.7%
- Dispatcher roles: 44.7%
- Safety roles: 40.5%
The report shows a considerable rise from 2019 when 10% of all truckers were female truck drivers. This was an increase over 2018 when women truck drivers accounted for only 7.89% of the total. The index claims that women have several good attributes that are highly favorable to becoming efficient, trustworthy, and safe truck drivers in explaining the reasons for this steady growth.
Women are less prone to take risks on average, making them safer drivers than males. Women truck drivers have greater multitasking and organizational abilities, as well as skilled communicators with attributes such as patience and the capacity to focus for long periods, all of which make them an excellent fit for the job.
What are the Benefits of Recruiting Women in the Trucking Industry?
Today, there is a severe scarcity of truck drivers. According to the ATA, the national driver shortage is expected to be at 80,000. Furthermore, “at current rates, the shortage could exceed 160,000 by 2030.” Encouraging women to work in the trucking industry can surely assist to alleviate the driver shortage.
But it isn’t the only reason why women should work in the trucking sector. According to the Women in Trucking Association, more female truckers bring the following benefits:
- A new perspective on the sector.
- Increases creativity, problem-solving, and invention.
- Improves company performance and income making.
How Can Women Be Supported in Trucking?
Women truckers are welcome to join national and regional trucking organizations. Simultaneously, gangs especially target female truckers. Furthermore, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission protects from discrimination and harassment. Other than this, women can also:
- Join Women in Trucking Association
All female drivers should seek expert assistance. Women in Trucking is a non-profit organization aimed at supporting female truckers and removing workplace barriers that many women confront. The firm is a wonderful resource for women just starting in the sector, delivering a ready-made network and guidance to those in need. As you gain trucking experience, you may be able to coach other female drivers.
- Foster good relationship
While having help on the job is essential for professional success, drivers often require assistance at home. You spend a lot of time away from your home, family, and friends, so having a strong personal network is also beneficial. Building your community at home, from watering houseplants to checking in on your children, may provide you peace of mind when you’re on the road. Pay careful attention to personal connections and do everything you can to maintain them strong.
- Be prepared for training
Female truckers should get their commercial driver’s license (CDL). There are various options for training to become a truck driver. Many prominent trucking firms provide training programs that will take women from getting their CDL to driving one of their trucks. A community college or technical school with a truck driving curriculum is another possibility. Truck driver training programs are also available. The charges vary based on the program women want to choose.
- Put the focus on networking
Truck drivers are a component of a strong community, and there are many people prepared to assist, guide, and encourage women. Finding a professional network of helpful coworkers and individuals they can trust is critical. Building a network is similar to creating a professional family or community, and women can never have too many friends in the trucking industry.
- Route planning
Route planning is an integral component of the duties of a truck driver. Knowing where you’re going and how to get there reduces stress, makes you safer, and keeps you in compliance with hours of service rules. Various technical businesses can assist drivers in organizing their workflow and routing up to 10 days ahead of time.
- Get a CB radio
Despite the proliferation of cell phones, truck drivers still rely on CB radios. In places with poor cellular service, having a CB radio may make a major difference in calling aid. The CB radio may also be used to gain critical information from other drivers, such as road dangers, traffic conditions, and other scenarios. Women can set their CB to channel 19 since this is the common channel for truck drivers to communicate through CB.
Future of Women in the Trucking Industry
This country is expanding, and so is the transportation sector. Women can only discover better compensation and more freedom in their schedules and day-to-day working habits in this career. Don’t forget that the tremendous demand for drivers, as well as the high compensation, makes it an excellent chance for women to compete on a level playing field.