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How Carriers Can Help Female Drivers Change the Face of Trucking
Mariah Barr
8 mins read

Diversity should be embraced and upheld by any company in any industry, including trucking. It just so happens that more women are joining the transportation workforce than ever, which falls right in line with this key theme.  

March is Women’s History Month and the Women In Trucking Association was formed in March of 2007. It’s no coincidence that now is the perfect time to consider what can help the growing number of female truck drivers continue to move in a positive direction. 

The FMCSA has made significant moves to encourage women to join the trucking workforce; however, the reality is, motor carriers can do much more to help female trailblazers in a mostly male-dominated industry. But before we get into that, let’s see where women truckers stand today. 

What percentage of truck drivers are female? 

Department of Labor (DOL) data regarding labor force statistics currently shows there are 3,364,000 professional “Driver/sales workers and truck drivers” in the United States. 7.8% of those are women, which calculates to 262,392 female drivers. Using additional DOL figures, the number of female drivers has increased by 88% since 2010.  

The National Transportation Institute (NTI) recently added a gender-related question to their quarterly wage surveys: carriers were asked for the percentage of female over-the-road drivers. Surprisingly, many of the carriers did not know their male-to-female ratio. According to the respondents of the survey, the average percentage of female over-the-road drivers was 7.13% in 2017 and increased to 7.89% in 2018. 

There could be many reasons for the uptick in the number of women truck drivers. The demand for drivers skyrocketed during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and it has not slowed down since. Many people made significant career changes during the pandemic as well. A sense of pride and accomplishment, greater flexibility with work hours, and the potential for better pay could also be contributing factors. 

While these growing numbers seem promising, there’s more that can be done to bolster the industry with more female drivers at the wheel and keep them there for the duration of their careers. Here’s how trucking companies can reduce the turnover rate of women drivers and better appeal to them in the first place.  

Invest in Better Equipment 

This can apply to both women and men drivers, but according to a study conducted by Stay Metrics, “dissatisfaction with tractor” was the number one turnover predictor for women. Considering the ergonomics of a traditional cab are designed for drivers of larger builds, it may be difficult for the average female physique to comfortably reach the controls or adjust the seat to their liking.  

New rigs with advanced safety features and technology can benefit your entire fleet as well. Upgrading to newer trucks with brake assist, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring systems, or other capabilities will only improve your drivers’ habits on the road and their overall satisfaction with the equipment they use daily. 

Show Employees Their Safety Matters 

Yet another step that relates to both male and female drivers is ensuring your fleet is safe no matter where their on-the-road journeys may take them. It’s important to consider many women drivers are faced with skepticism and negativity simply because of their gender. They may also feel unsafe traveling alone in areas they’re unfamiliar with at all hours of the day or night.  

Taking extra initiatives to listen to your drivers’ concerns about uncomfortable situations at truck stops, shipper/receiver locations, or anywhere else they may go shows that you care about their safety and are working to make their job as enjoyable as possible. 

Promote an Inclusive Culture 

Improving professional relationships regardless of each employee’s job duties creates a healthier workplace where everyone can feel more satisfied in their unique positions. Dispatchers, fleet managers, shippers, receivers, drivers, and even recruiters should be encouraged to have positive attitudes and follow the “Golden Rule” when interacting with co-workers, no matter their gender. 

Emphasizing that your company is an equal opportunity employer and promoting the need for more female truck drivers in recruitment materials can indicate that you’re welcoming women to join your carrier with open arms. Once they’re hired, placing new female recruits with other women drivers during training creates a comfortable comradery that can lead to better job fulfillment.  

Forming More Fleets of Female Truck Drivers 

If you already have several female truckers in the driver’s seat, you’re likely leading the way in terms of dynamic hiring and retention, but your company may still benefit from the above suggestions. If your team is comprised of mostly or all male drivers, there’s no time like the present to start adding more women truckers to your roster. 

Becoming a female-friendly trucking company starts at the beginning: hiring more women to join your fleet. If your company is growing or you need to backfill a position, consider bringing a woman or two along for the ride. Not only will you have a more diverse workforce, but having a female behind the wheel of your rig will also show those on the roadways that you’re a progressive carrier who welcomes drivers of all genders, backgrounds, and experience levels. 

And during a time of an ongoing driver shortage, who wouldn’t want to open up their hiring pool? 

Let Foley Lead the Way with a Better Hiring Process 

Your company can be a crucial component of this “female drivers wanted” movement and improve its hiring means at the same time. Using our exclusive Driver First eApplication, CDL holders can easily upload all the documents you need, like their CDL and medical certificate, to make smarter hiring decisions. The program’s mobile-friendly structure improves the application process for everyone involved.  

Applicants don’t need to finish the entire application in one sitting, either. They can simply save their progress anywhere along the way and complete it when it works best for them. A flexible application platform will appeal to busy drivers on the road at all hours of the day and night. 

You can even get a free demo of our DOT-compliant application to see if it will solve your hiring woes before committing to anything. If you’re ready to hire better and join the rise of women in trucking, let’s talk! 

 
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