- Women make up less than 10% of nationwide truck drivers
- Fleets can do more to support women in trucking
- Technology also makes it easier to attract women to the industry
The trucking industry is actively seeking to add women drivers. The effort has paid off with a consistent growth of women in trucking over the past decade. But female truck drivers remain a minority in the industry. There’s a continued need to support women in trucking. This article examines the current environment for women in truck driving and how to improve the situation even further.
Important female truck drivers statistics
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that in 2020 only 12.4% of the trucking transportation industry employees were female. But there has been a real push recently to get more female truck drivers out on the road. For one thing, women drivers are 20% less likely to be involved in a crash than their male counterparts, according to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
What percent of truck drivers are female?
Women make up only 7% of all drivers, “well below their representation in the total workforce,” according to the American Trucking Associations. That equates to approximately 250,000 female drivers in the United States.
According to the 2019 Women in Trucking Index, the number of women executives of motor carriers is on the rise. The WIT reported 24% year-over-year growth in executive levels. Plus the Index found women made up “43.5% of the overall non-executive workforce in trucking companies (non-executive employees include recruiters, driver managers, dispatchers, salespeople and administrative workers).”
Using Department of Labor figures, Women in Trucking (WIT) estimates there has been an “88% increase in female drivers” from 2010 to 2021.
What is the average female truck driver’s salary?
Median annual wages for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers was $48,310 in May 2021, the most recent figure available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The highest 10% of drivers earned more than $72,730 while the lowest 10% were earning less than $30,710.
The average female truck driver’s salary is the same as that for male counterparts. According to Ellen Voie of Women in Trucking, “As a truck driver, you make the same amount of money as your male peers, because you either get paid by the mile or the load of the percentage. So gender is not an issue in pay in the truck industry for drivers.”
Benefits of recruiting women in the trucking industry
There is a dramatic shortage of truck drivers available today. The national shortfall is estimated at approximately 80,000 drivers, according to the ATA. Further, “at current trends, the shortage could surpass 160,000 in 2030.” Encouraging women to enter the trucking industry could help to address the driver shortage.
But that’s not the only reason to engage women in the trucking industry. The Women in Trucking Association notes having more female truckers also:
- Brings new perspectives
- Fuels greater idea generation, problem solving, and innovation
- Increases business performance and overall revenue generation
Judging by the Jobs Act statistic above about fewer accidents, women are safer on the road too.
What challenges do female truck drivers face?
Female truck drivers face several obstacles in trying to enter and remain in the industry. Rigorous work schedules can be challenging for female truck drivers who would benefit from more flexible work arrangements. Fair compensation remains a problem. Additionally, if the fleet does not have an inclusive corporate culture, the female driver may not be encouraged or supported in professional development or career advancement.
Female truck drivers can be treated differently than their male counterparts. They may not be selected as often for big hauls, may be subjected to inappropriate advances, and might face disparaging comments about their work.
All these can undermine the drivers’ morale and make it more difficult for fleets to retain their qualified female truckers.
Best trucking companies for women
To find a job as a female truck driver, you might start looking online at job sites and the Women in Trucking careers site. Women in Trucking (WIT) also posts a list of Top 50 Companies for Women to Work for in Transportation. The listing looks for “corporate cultures that foster gender diversity; competitive compensation and benefits; flexible hours and work requirements; professional development opportunities; and career advancement opportunities.”
Most recently, the companies recognized by WIT included:
- ADM Trucking
- BCB Transport
- Carter Express
- Dart Transit Company
- Estes Express Lines
- Frito Lay
- Jetco Delivery
- Landstar Transportation Logistics
- XPO Logistics
Motive’s own Chelsea Kendrick and Krissy Manzano were also recently named Top Women to Watch in Transportation by WIT. Chelsea is a Customer Education Manager while Krissy is our Senior Director of Sales.
Another option is to start a female-owned trucking company or join one that is woman owned. Understanding load boards, an online resource to help find loads that need delivered, can be a good starting point for women starting their own trucking companies.
What support is there for women truckers?
National and regional trucking groups welcome women trucker members. At the same time, groups also specifically target female truckers. Additionally, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission offers protection from discrimination and harassment.
Women in Trucking Association
The Women Trucking Association is a good resource for information about women truck drivers. Founded in 2007, this non-profit organization aims to create a community for professional drivers, encourage women’s employment, and address obstacles facing female truckers.
Want a firsthand view of what it means to be a female trucker? Read the perspective of Desiree Wood, a 10-year trucker and founder of REAL Women in Trucking.
Women in trucking scholarship
The Women in Trucking Foundation offers scholarships to “any female who will be attending a training facility for the purpose of advancing their career in the areas of safety, driving, technical, or leadership in the trucking industry.” Applications are accepted in the Spring and the Fall for the $1,000 in funding.
Tips to attract and retain women truck drivers
The first step is to recruit more women to the trucking industry. This calls for fleets to target female prospects with personalized marketing. Recognizing the obstacles women face in trucking, the campaign can create distinct, compelling materials to reach prospective women drivers. Offering a referral program can also help increase your applicant pool as women in trucking now are your best ambassadors to bring in new female truck drivers.
Better working conditions will appeal to any new driver, regardless of their gender.
Retaining women truck drivers requires the fleet to offer fair compensation and flexible work arrangements. Fostering a sense of community and offering new female drivers constructive feedback can help to connect these new drivers to your fleet, which improves retention too.
You might also want to review our blog on 6 overlooked questions fleet managers need to address to keep good drivers. Focusing in the areas the article identifies can help you create a plan of action to improve driver happiness, for both your male and female truck drivers.
How Motive can help empower new and current female truckers
The need for women drivers behind the wheel won’t go away immediately. Yet, year-over-year growth, equalling roughly 30%, is cause for optimism. Commercial fleets making the effort to recruit and retain women in trucking can see many benefits.
Motive can help your business empower its new and current female drivers. Effective fleet management makes for a better, safer work environment, which helps improve job satisfaction, regardless of driver gender.
Improving driver safety is a top priority for Motive. Our AI-powered safety platform helps to both prevent accidents, exonerate drivers, and reduce insurance costs. Installing our accurate, fast AI dash cam can help improve unsafe driving behaviors through automated coaching. Your new and current female drivers can review their coachable videos at the office or while they are on the road to continue their professional development and support confidence behind the wheel.
The Motive Driver App lets drivers complete logs and inspection reports faster. FMCSA-registered and certified in Canada, Motive’s Driver App with electronic logging device (ELD) provides accurate HOS countdown clocks and pre-violation alerts to notify drivers of impending Hours of Service violations in advance. Acing roadside inspections is more likely too with the aid of the app’s Inspection Mode.
Motive’s technology aims to improve safety, productivity, and profitability. Bringing more women into trucking can also help you achieve those objectives. Learn more about how Motive backs up your work to support women in trucking. Get in touch today.