The truck driver shortage is a constant topic in the transportation and logistics industry. The obvious answer is to hire people from underrepresented demographics among drivers: young people and women in particular. The US is currently looking at a new bill that would eliminate an outdated age restriction on cross-state drivers, but the industry has been struggling to figure out how to appeal to female truck drivers.
According to the US Census Bureau, the country is around 50.8% female and 49.2% male, but Women in Trucking (WIT) found that women only make up about 7% of professional truck drivers. This disproportionate ratio is startling, but it begs the question why?
There are a few reasons why women may be hesitant to take on a career in trucking. The industry is stereotypically thought of as “man’s work,” which causes them to think they are unqualified or unable to do the required work. However, female drivers report having no issues handling big trucks or loads. Women have been driving trucks even back when vehicles were physically taxing to drive.
Although women make up a small percentage of professional truck drivers, statistically they are proven to be better drivers compared to their male counterparts. Women are safer drivers overall and have fewer accidents. They also remain with carriers longer, which is wonderful for trucking companies as high turnover is costly in terms of training and on-boarding.
Another big reason women are less likely to take on long-haul trucking jobs is due to the unusual hours. However, while women still make up a small percentage of drivers they are making up larger percentages of the workforce in sales and management roles inside of offices. These jobs are more appealing due to the comparatively easier work, better work-life balance in a more typical manner and better pay.
Pay is a major factor in whether women take trucking jobs. Many are willing if it makes financial sense. Trucking companies are finding that women are taking on more specialized heavy-haul transports, which has better pay. WIT stated that women today are hauling some of the most safety-sensitive loads in the country, driving tankers, hazardous waste, and extreme over-dimensional loads.
Although women are joining trucking at slower rates than other industries, it’s great to hear that they are taking on more roles in the industry, even if it’s not behind the wheel. Specialty loads and office roles are as vital to the distribution industry as regular haul drivers. At Traffix, we’re proud to have a number of strong women both in our offices and out on the road. If you are interested in joining our team feel free to contact us!