A driver shortage quickly approaching 50,000 workers – and expected to quadruple by 2025 – is putting trucking companies in the position of having to find new ways to increase the workforce or suffer the effects of limited capacity. In response, companies are looking at every possible avenue to get more drivers into the industry, including targeted campaigns designed to attract more women to trucking careers.
Female truck drivers currently make up only about 6% of the total driving workforce. But the encouraging fact is that the number of female drivers is up about 4.5% in recent years. It is becoming more common to find female truckers working local, regional, and long-haul jobs, and the industry expects the number of female drivers to only increase as time goes on.
Benefits of Trucking for Women
You might wonder how well women do in an industry that has always been dominated by men. Actually, women do very well when trucking is compared to other male-dominated industries. For example, consider pay. According to the Women in Trucking Association, there is no gender gap between men and women where compensation is concerned.
The vast majority of truck drivers are paid by the mile or as a percentage of the load carried. That pay remains static regardless of the sex of the driver. Therefore, female truck drivers earn just as much as their male counterparts for the same amount of work.
Other benefits women are now enjoying in the trucking industry include :
- Team Driving Opportunities – More and more trucking companies are looking to hire driving teams that can keep their trucks moving 24 hours a day. This is especially attractive to women who want to earn their CDL licenses so they can work with their husbands or partners. Couples working as teams are growing in number.
- Modern Equipment – The physical challenges of driving trucks made truck driving careers very difficult for women in the past. Modern equipment is changing that. With more companies transitioning to newer fleets offering automatic transmissions, advanced steering, and customized seats and seat belts, women can now handle the big rigs as easily as men.
- More Home Time – Employers eager to increase their female driving workforce are beginning to realize how important home time is to all of their workers. Creating programs offering more home time addresses such concerns. More home time is making truck driving more attractive to more women.
- Training Positions – Women entering the industry as new drivers prefer to hit the road with female trainers for obvious reasons. This need has opened up a door of opportunity to women who want to advance into the training arena rather than remaining drivers only. With that advancement also comes future opportunities for management.
Benefits to Trucking Companies
Trucking companies enjoy a number of benefits by adding women to the workforce. First and foremost, every new driver behind the wheel of a truck increases a company’s overall capacity. Five female drivers are just as important to capacity as five male drivers. Yet the benefits acquiring female drivers goes beyond mere capacity.
For example, the Women in Trucking Association contends that female drivers are involved in fewer serious accidents – and fewer accidents overall – than their male counterparts. This is good for trucking companies in that it reduces both downtime and the cost of insurance.
There is little doubt that women and couples are changing the face of the trucking industry for the better. If you are looking for a career as a truck driver, we are interested in speaking with you.
1. CNBC – http://www.cnbc.com/2015/12/16/the-next-big-thing-in-us-trucking-female-drivers.html