December 20, 2021

Promoting women in trucking so as to reduce the truck drivers’ shortage

Promoting women in trucking so as to reduce the truck drivers’ shortage

   By now, you are probably well aware that the trucking industry is experiencing a hiring and retention crisis, as we’ve detailed in one of our earlier blog posts; with truckers being highly sought after all over the country. And while there is no easy solution out of it, a recent legislative initiative by Kansas US Representative Sharice Davids, intended to promote women in trucking, sheds new light on the role and possible silver lining that women can play in saving the trucking industry. 

   To make it clear from the start, women’s role in trucking has always been crucial, though certainly always in a minority share to that of men employed in the industry. According to the Women In Trucking Association (WIT), and the National Transportation Institute (NTI), who have jointly established to the WIT Index, as an instrument to better quantify the number of women truck drivers and management team members in the trucking industry on a national level; women in management make up to a quarter of the total, at 23.75% percent in 2017, while the percentage of female drivers is much lower registering 7.89% in the same year, which is consistent with the man dominated stereotype of the job. It is why the US Representative Davids has introduced the bill to require the Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to establish an advisory board focused on creating opportunities for women in the trucking industry and for other purposes. The legislative initiative specifically provides it would then “provide education, training, mentorship, or outreach to women in the trucking industry; and recruit, retain, or advance women in the trucking industry.” And it is already gaining support and being regarded as a saving and much-required measure for the ailing trucking industry.

   The trend already started amid the global supply chain breakdown, with more than a quarter of the carrier companies included in the reporting data of the WIT, confirming a 28.7% increase in female truck drivers. Fleet companies similarly reported 19% growth in women drivers before the pandemic struck, which WIT views as a healthy trend, indicating that more fleets are serious about understanding the gender divide, which could pave the way for creating initiatives to improve the gender ratio. Representative Davids said in a statement. “That’s why I introduced a bill to encourage women to join the trucking industry.”

   Trucking can present both opportunities and hurdles for women entering the traditionally male-dominated field. WIT President Ellen Voie reflects that some of these hurdles are created by the industry and others by the regulatory environment. She pointed out that truck cabs, for example, are generally built to fit the larger physical size of a man. “Their smaller and shorter stature make it harder for women to reach the controls and get the seats adjusted into a comfortable position while keeping their feet on the pedals, when you are driving days at a time — except for the rest breaks — you have to be comfortable.” Others stem from the very nature of trucking, requiring long hours on the road and being away from the family, which can be discouraging for many women considering joining the field as long-haul drivers. All the while, trucking offers ample freedom to work independently and welcome the adventure of the open road while earning a very good pay. Another advantage is that all women drivers receive equal pay for their work. “Women and men are paid the same as drivers,” Voie confirms, “a carrier sets the pay based on mileage, hours, or percentage of the load. It is not related to age, ethnicity, or gender.”

   At AGM Trucking, we are keen to support the women wishing to join our business and believe this could be the saving call for many businesses struggling to find truck drivers. With the recent bill and dedicated WIT support programs, this is all good news for our industry and in line with WIT overall mission: to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments, and minimize the obstacles they face. Be sure trucking is a viable means of economic self-sufficiency, and many women are choosing an enterprise connected to transportation to be part of their career aspirations. Become part of our team and enjoy the rewards and benefits of a commercial truck driver career by calling us now at 630-413-1435

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