Trucking in America has always been thought of as a male occupation. For right or wrong, men still dominate the industry, with about 94% of the jobs belonging to them. How long that will last is anyone’s guess, especially since trucking companies are now aggressively pursuing female drivers. Many believe getting more women behind the wheel of long-haul trucks will be key to solving the driver shortage now gripping the trucking and logistics industries. Whether its truck driving jobs in California or New York, Texas or Utah, women will be an important part of the jobs picture of the future.
At a recent industry conference in Texas, one notable trucking company said it expects its workforce to be as high as 10% female by the end of the year. It has been recruiting women, in part, by actively laying to rest some of the common concerns that still pervade the industry. For example:
- Physical Strength – It used to be that women had a difficult time driving trucks because of the upper body strength necessary to use manual steering and transmissions. However, that is no longer the case. Modern equipment features all sorts of upgrades including power steering, automatic transmissions and computer-based aids that make truck driving easier than it has ever been.
- Safety and Security – The industry has gone out of its way to improve safety and security for female drivers. Truck stops have been cleaned up, parking areas are more secure, and truck stop owners have created facilities specifically for female drivers. There is also greater awareness within the industry about safety and security issues.
- Pay and Benefits – Whether male or female, truckers are highly skilled individuals very much in demand; pay and benefits are commensurate with that demand. Successful truck drivers of both genders can earn very good money.
- Performance – according to some of the conference attendees in Texas, men are not better drivers by default. A number of the representatives attending said their female drivers perform better when it comes to accident rates, compliance issues, and vehicle inspections. Women can, and do, perform very well on the job across multiple areas of assessment.
The Current Environment for Women
The American Trucking Association says that there are now 3.4 million truck drivers on American roads, 5.8% of which are women. That is up from 4.6% last year. As the industry continues to convince more women to get behind the wheel, that number could easily approach 10% in just a few years. That would be tremendous for both the industry and female drivers.
The key to recruiting more women seems to be one of education, according to the Women in Trucking industry trade group. Membership Director Char Pingle was recently quoted by Central Oregon’s Bulletin as saying “women don’t know they can do the job.” If that’s true, and there’s no reason to believe it’s not, getting women the information they need to convince them trucking is a good job for them will go a long way toward increasing recruiting numbers.
C.R. England is among those companies looking to hire more women. In fact, we are interested in anyone who wants to work for a world-class organization that just happens to be one of the oldest and most respected trucking companies in the industry. We have openings for new drivers, experienced drivers, owner-operators, and teams. Just get in touch with our recruiting department for more information.
1. The Bulletin – http://www.bendbulletin.com/business/3484632-151/truckings-battle-of-the-sexes-are-women-winning#