Employment trends can be unpredictable, but there's one that seems to be solid across industries, and that is the push to recruit more women into jobs that have traditionally been stereotyped as male driven. While women in trucking is hardly a new phenomenon, the female drivers who have opted to enter this field in the past have been mavericks who often embraced unconventional ways of doing things.
You might find it surprising that it's so important to recruit women now, when this field remained dominated by men for so long. The reason for the pivot isn't complex, and it isn't even really due to social changes. It's a pivot by necessity. Since 2015, there has been a notable shortage of truck drivers across all niches within the field. For over a decade before that, driver turnover was at a high point relative to the last 50 years. At the same time, the demand for drivers has been on the rise this entire time, as more and more consumer shopping is done online, increasing the demand for shipping in all its forms.
Three years of driver shortages led to a massive push by the trucking industry to recruit women, which has resulted in a job market women have begun to enjoy more frequently since 2018.
What Makes Truck Driving Attractive To Women?
There are quite a few perks of this career choice that make it attractive to women looking to build a business or chart a career path with upward mobility.
- Professional development and training on different types of heavy equipment and trailer configurations
- Variety among trucking jobs available, from short-distance delivery to long-haul cargo
- Full benefits from employers or a healthy freelance market for entrepreneurs
- Easy paths to becoming an owner-operator
- Options that work with the patterns of your lifestyle, from home every night to one week in three
- Competitive salaries
Trucking is one of the few jobs with a reliable path to income that gives the worker the independence to get the job done with little micromanagement or direct oversight. There are best practices to learn, but a unique problem-solving style is valued in trucking in ways that it typically is not in other industries.
That makes it attractive for anyone looking for a job that assumes your competence, but especially for people who have traditionally been corralled into jobs that are highly repetitive, with processes that restrict your choice of methods for dealing with problems. Even short-range drivers using company vehicles wind up having to call their shots regularly to deliver shipments undamaged and on-time.
Trucking Companies are Recruiting Women Drivers
While more women are becoming interested in truck driving jobs, driver recruiters are also taking note of studies, such as that by Omnitracs, which focus on how women truck drivers are able to help carriers boost profitability.
- Employee Turnover - Historically, driver turnover for large fleets in the trucking industry runs in the mid- to -upper 90th percentile, according to studies by the American Trucking Associations (ATA). However, the retention rate for women truck drivers is much higher, reflecting the loyalty of women more likely to remain with one trucking company for a longer period of time. The ability to retain women truck drivers and avoid turnover and retraining costs is viewed quite favorably by carriers in the truckload industry.
- Women Truck Drivers are involved in Fewer Preventable Accidents - Despite sterotypes to the contrary, statistically women truck drivers are involved in fewer accidents, including semi rollovers and rear-end collisions. Trucking companies looking to boost their profits by curtailing insurance and litigation costs should take note of the reliability and safety records being compiled by women in the truck driving workforce.
- More Miles Logged - The study also shows that women in trucking are logging more miles. Obviously, when drivers are able to keep the wheels turning, they are able to earn more money for themselves and their employer.
While there remains a huge gender gap among male and female drivers in the truckling industry, trucking companies are becoming keenly aware that hiring women drivers is a viable and responsible option for reducing their driver shortage and boosting profitability.
Learn More About the Trucking Industry
Women In Trucking is a non-profit organization which works to minimize the obstacles women interested in trucking may face. They serve as a resource for women truck drivers to encourage employment, increase job opportunities and improve working conditions for women drivers.
The future looks bright for women in trucking, because even if the number of drivers, male or female, entering the field increases in the coming years, it will have a hard time keeping up with the rate of driver retirement.Retirement numbers have been increasing for years, and are likely to keep doing so with the aging workforce within the industy.
Women do not have to have a substantial amount of brute force to handle a semi-truck and have a successful career as a driver. Trucking equipment improvements and modifications, such as automatic transmissions, have made trucking today less difficult than many years past. Whether you're looking to work in local delivery, or you want to see the country, trucking companies have options for practically everyone who has a passion to drive.
Search for Trucking Jobs
If you’re a woman ready to get started in the trucking industry, you’ve come to the right place. Once you have a CDL license, you can start searching for truck driving jobs. You can find a range of local, regional, dedicated, and OTR trucking opportunities across the country.