Women in Trucking: Challenges & Opportunities in a Male-Dominated Industry
The trucking industry is a vital part of the global economy, with billions of goods transported by trucks annually. Despite this importance, the industry has struggled with a severe shortage of truck drivers in recent years. This shortage is expected to worsen as many current drivers near retirement age. To address this shortfall, many trucking companies have begun actively recruiting women to join their ranks.
However, the trucking industry is also notorious for its male-dominated culture and can be a challenging environment for women to navigate. In this article, we’ll explore the unique challenges and opportunities women truck drivers face and how they overcome them.
The Trucking Industry and Gender
Trucking has traditionally been uniformly men, with women making up less than 10% of all truck drivers in the United States. This gender disparity is reflected in other transportation-related professions, such as mechanics, dispatchers, and logistics managers. Women who work in the industry often report feeling isolated and unsupported, and many face harassment or discrimination on the job.
However, the tides of society and culture are shifting, making a splash in the trucking industry. Women are entering the field in droves and have reached a record high since the Bureau of Labor and Statistics began reporting these demographics in 1990.
Key Statistics: Women in Trucking
- The US transportation industry was worth $1.36 trillion as of 2022, with 10.68 million Americans employed in transportation and warehouse positions.
- The trucking industry generates an estimated $700 billion in annual revenue.
- Demand for trucking has increased by 30% over the past 5 years with the growth of eCommerce and the need for efficient and reliable logistics services.
- As of October 2022, the share of women across the trucking industry reached nearly 18%, with the number of women holding 1.6 million jobs within the sector.
- The percentage of female truck drivers is 8%.
Challenges of Driving Jobs for Women
Women in trucking face a range of unique challenges, many of which are related to the industry’s male-dominated culture. Some of the most common challenges include:
Stereotypes and Bias
Women in trucking often face stereotyping and bias from both coworkers and customers. Many people assume that women are not as capable of driving trucks or performing other transportation-related tasks as men, which can lead to dismissiveness or lack of respect.
Trucking is a physically demanding job that requires long hours of sitting, heavy lifting, and exposure to extreme weather conditions. Women may face additional challenges due to their typically smaller size and strength, making it more difficult to perform certain tasks.
Safety is always a concern in the trucking industry, and women may feel more vulnerable due to their gender. Some women report feeling unsafe when stopping at truck stops or rest areas, while others have experienced harassment or assault on the job.
Gender Pay Gap
While industries worldwide are making strides to even out this highly debated and hot-button issue, it is estimated that women drivers and sales employees made 78 cents to the dollar men earned in 2021. This inequality is a significant factor preventing women from considering a truck driving career or staying in it.
Opportunities for Women in Trucking
Despite the clear challenges and obstacles women face in a male dominated trucking industry, women in trucking also have many opportunities to succeed. Some of these include
High Demand for Professional Truck Drivers
As mentioned previously, the trucking industry faces a severe driver shortage. This shortage has created a high demand for qualified truckers, and women are well-positioned to fill this gap. Many companies have also implemented various strategies to recruit and retain truck drivers by offering higher pay and competitive benefits packages.
Additionally, trucking companies are actively recruiting women to achieve diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. In recent years, women-owned and operated trucking companies have also emerged, creating new opportunities to succeed.
Trucker Pay and Benefits
Truck driving can be a lucrative career, with many drivers earning a good living wage. While women have historically been paid less than their counterparts, many for-hire trucking companies offer equal pay and comprehensive benefits.
The trucking sector is enormous and offers many opportunities for career advancement, with drivers able to move up to supervisory or management positions over time. Women interested in pursuing leadership roles in trucking and transportation can take advantage of these opportunities to advance their careers.
Strategies for Success in Trucking
To succeed in the trucking industry, women drivers must be prepared to address and overcome these challenges. Here are some strategies that can help:
Education and Training
Truck driving is demanding, and getting the right education and training is essential. Women drivers can look for training programs that will prepare them for the job and help them develop the skills they need to succeed.
Building a Support Network
Having a support network can be critical for women drivers, who may feel isolated or unsupported on the job. Women can seek other female drivers or transportation professionals who can offer advice and support.
Advocating for Yourself
Women drivers should not be afraid to speak up and advocate for themselves. This means setting clear boundaries and expectations with coworkers and customers and standing up for themselves if they experience harassment or discrimination. Your trucking company should also provide outreach and support to help female truck drivers navigate and overcome these challenges.
Despite the uphill battle, women are making great strides in breaking down barriers and succeeding in this male-dominated industry. By taking advantage of their opportunities and developing strategies for success, anyone can be a professional truck driver and build fulfilling and rewarding careers in this rapidly growing and dynamic field.
One company that is actively breaking down these barriers is Warrior Logistics. As a veteran and women-owned business, we believe people are our greatest assets and create a superior environment for them to thrive. Integrity is at the core of how we operate. We hold ourselves to the highest degree of professionalism, respect, and integrity towards our customers and each other – period.
If you’re looking for a rewarding and fulfilling career as a professional truck driver, apply today and move your career forward with one of the nation’s largest transportation companies!