Posted October 11, 2021

Women in the Trucking Industry

By Grace Tino

The spotlight has been on the trucking industry for the last two years amidst supply chain complications and a global pandemic. The impact of truckers on the United States economy has been the center of gratitude and praise from companies and customers across the country. Trucking companies are also focused on connecting with more job seekers during the driver shortage and improving their work cultures for the better. As a woman in the trucking industry, you may feel a unique set of challenges as you work in a historically male-dominated industry. However, recent statistics have been showing an increase of women drivers as well as a cultural shift towards diversity. For women job seekers, the future of the trucking industry is looking better than ever!

Recent studies conducted by the Women in Trucking Association (WIT) have found consistent increases in the numbers of female drivers in the industry in the past several years. A 2019 study from WIT in collaboration with Freightwaves showed that over 10% of over-the-road drivers are women; this is about a 30% increase from the 7.89 percentage found in 2018’s study. Another impressive sign of change WIT found from BLS Statistics is the 88% increase in female drivers and truckers since 2010.

The study from WIT also revealed that in 2019 women comprised about 43.5% of all non-executive positions (including drivers) in trucking companies. While it appears in a bigger picture that women trucking professionals are rising in numbers, there is still a significantly low number of women working specifically as drivers compared to men - and plenty of room for more. Carriers reported only 11.1% of their OTR drivers as females, carriers with a 3PL/freight brokerage reported 9.2%, and shippers with private fleets reported 10.1%. The number of roles women hold in the trucking industry is making significant improvement, but there is still plenty of work to be done by employers and government bodies alike that job seekers can expect to unfold over the coming years.

While the advancement of women in the trucking industry has been the significant concern of organizations such as WIT, last year’s capacity crunch has refocused government bodies on diversity in the industry as well. A bill originally drafted in November 2019 has been reintroduced as an important step for women job seekers to break into trucking. Known as the Promoting Women in Trucking Workforce Act, the legislation would call for the creation of a Women in Trucking Advisory Board by the administrator of the FMCSA. This advisory board would study the industry environment to find and change existing trends and practices that discourage women from applying to trucking jobs. Additionally, organizations and programs that assist women in trucking would be shared to female job seekers to make them more accessible.

The Promoting Women in Trucking Workforce Act also highlighted a specific breakdown of women currently in the industry. While women make up 47% of the US workforce, they only make up 24% of the transportation and warehousing workforce, which can be a daunting statistic to job seekers. Furthermore, women make up only about 12.5% specifically in the commercial trucking industry, with an even lesser 8% working as freight firm owners. While this legislation has not been put into effect yet, it serves as a promising sign that female job seekers are gaining the recognition they deserve from industry leaders.

Numerous trucking companies are working towards improving their diversity and creating a more welcoming environment to female seekers as well. WIT is currently working on a project called the Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Index. This effort will recognize various measures specific companies and organizations in the industry are making to improve their gender inclusivity. The final list will be announced later this year at WIT’s annual “Accelerate!” conference. This will be an excellent resource for women job seekers looking for progressive and inclusive companies.

Women are at the forefront of change and creating a more diverse and equal trucking industry for all, from drivers, warehouse workers, executives and more. What was once considered a predominantly male career path is being redefined with a gender inclusive environment, and rightly so! With so many talented and intelligent women job seekers, the trucking industry can look forward to filling more roles with successful female professionals. If you are a woman looking to break into trucking, explore thousands of opportunities on JobsInTrucks!