This is the national average (one female driver for every 19 males, around five percent).
There are some carriers who enjoy a much higher female driver pool. What are they doing differently?
First, they have a culture that values and appreciates women. Years ago you could walk into a terminal and see more women in the mechanic’s calendars than you did in trucks.
There were only men’s restrooms and showers and the few female drivers who entered the lounge were teased mercilessly.
Fortunately, that has changed, but not everywhere.
There are some places that haven’t changed the environment and those are the carriers that have a hard time attracting women to the workforce.
Look at the company’s recruiting ads. Do they really think women feel included in these recruiting efforts?
Are there women visible in management roles at the carrier? If so, women will feel welcomed and valued by the company when they see more women in leadership roles.
The following are 5 ways some carriers that have joined Women In Trucking Association as corporate members are engaging their female drivers.
There are carriers that are becoming more aggressive in their efforts to recruit female drivers because of the benefits women bring. Not just as drivers filling a need, but as well qualified employees who bring a different perspective to the job.
As drivers, women take fewer risks according to Ron Kipling, author of “Safety for the Long Haul.” Kipling credits this trait as being related to differences in the level of testosterone between men and women.
Trucking company executives often tell me that women are better at completing their paperwork and often treat their equipment better than their male counterparts. Regarding communication, women are often viewed as being better with customers as well.
As trucks become more driver friendly and the freight is no longer being “fingerprinted” by drivers, the opportunity to become a professional driver extends beyond those who are big, muscular, and mechanically minded. The length of haul is getting shorter and time at home is viewed as crucial in attracting and retaining drivers.
Adding women to the driver pool is not just something we should do to fill a need; it’s something we should be doing because we have an opportunity to utilize under-represented potential.
As carriers, you can attract and retain more women and you should want to be increasing your percentage of female drivers. Use these suggestions and maybe you can enjoy safer, more conscientious drivers in your fleet.
About the Author
Ellen Voie is founder of the Women In Trucking Association, womenintrucking.org.
Ellen’s background in the trucking industry began in 1980, when she earned a diploma in Traffic and Transportation Management while employed as Traffic Manager for a steel fabricating plant in central Wisconsin.