Women In Trucking: Appealing to Women and Millenials
The trucking industry offers women equal pay with men, at a time when not many industries can make this claim. Yet, it is estimated that only six to seven percent of all drivers are women. The trucking industry is forecast to have a shortage of 175,000 drivers by the year 2024. All of this adds up to great opportunity for women, but questions as to why more women aren’t already in the industry.
The number of women truckers increases each year. More attention is being devoted to this small but growing work segment. Sirius XM launched a show called “Women in Trucking” on the Road Dog Channel 146 that plays every Saturday and replays on Sunday. They have a variety of guests, such as Margot Genger who wrote the book “Shit Happens” based on her experience driving trucks in the 70’s. Ellen Voie, President and CEO of Women In Trucking, has also been a guest on the show. In an article in American Trucker, Voie said, “If you’re happy with 7% female drivers and 14% of women in management, then you probably don’t think it’s important to encourage women to look at careers in this industry. But we aren’t satisfied with that.”
- Issues Women Face
So, why aren’t more women in trucking?
Some of the most commonly cited reasons include fair treatment, safety concerns ranging from equipment to dangers on the road, to lifestyle issues. One study found that women who do drive trucks don’t recruit or recommend the industry.
Traditionally truckers were expected to be away at home for three weeks out of a month, and that’s hard for many mothers to do. So, recruitment efforts have traditionally been focused on recruiting men. Now though, things are changing. Trucking is a viable option for women with older children, and not all women choose to be the partner that stays home. Also, more and more jobs don’t require drivers to stay away for weeks at a time. Dry van routes, port and rail jobs are some of those that allow drivers to remain local.
A March USA Today article mentions a survey that found that when asked how safe they feel on the job, women on average rated a 4.4 out of 10. Women are finding ways to stay safe, like always locking their doors and parking in the front of a line of trucks when stopping to rest, not at the back of the line.
In general, the trucking industry isn’t known for offering a healthy lifestyle. More than ⅔ of truckers are obese. Half of truckers are smokers, which is more than double the rate of the general US population.
Many leaders in trucking look at the looming shortage, estimated to be a shortage of over 60,000 by 2020, and see a growing importance in attracting millennials to the industry – both women and men. Trucking does have some benefits for millenials. One, a high school graduate can go into trucking and avoid any college debt and get to see the country. Of course, if legislation lowers the age for interstate driving to 18, this will make it much more appealing for those right out of high school.
TA Truck stops, the largest chain of truck stops, has started adjusting amenities to better suit the growing number of women and possibly to meet demands of younger truck drivers. They now have 70 fitness rooms around the country, healthier food options, and private shower rooms with hair dryers.
Groups like “S.H.E. trucking”:https://blavity.com/heres-how-this-female-truck-driver-is-providing-a-platform-for-women-in-the-trucking-industry?fbclid=IwAR2mJPFnN4FKkxYcH6TQYwHPjWVrAw6VdxlOql_OKwl4Vr0sLwRuOku_kkg are forming and starting to help lead the industry in recruiting women and helping to address the issues that make trucking less attractive to women. Sharae Moore, the founder of S.H.E. Trucking, entered the industry five years ago. She entered the industry because she had a strong desire to travel. She found the industry to be closed off and to not offer much support to women, so she set about changing that with her own Facebook page, and from there, S.H.E Trucking launched. She currently has 3,000 members in 27 countries around the world.
Lisa Lippiner covers driving news for DMVCheatSheets.com
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