Truck driving has long been a man’s world. Until just a few years ago, the number of female drivers working as truckers was so small that the industry didn’t bother tracking the data. But now female truckers make up roughly 6% of the total. That is not much in the grand scheme of things, but it is a huge leap in such a short amount of time.
The good news for female drivers is that trucking companies have an ever-growing list of reasons to recruit them. In fact, some trucking companies have been forward thinking enough to say that the future of their recruiting efforts relies heavily on women entering the profession.
So what has changed? Why are trucking companies more aggressively recruiting female drivers? And more importantly, why can they do what wasn’t feasible a decade ago? Here are five reasons:
1. New and Better Equipment
It used to be that manual steering and transmissions made it very difficult for women to drive a truck professionally. Better equipment is changing that. With power steering and automatic transmissions in modern equipment, having a lot of upper body strength is no longer necessary to drive a truck.
2. Better Cargo Control
In the days of manual steering and transmissions, cargo control was also a lot more difficult. Women who chose to drive flatbed rigs had a more difficult time tying down cargo because of a lack of upper body strength. But the same technological innovations that make driving easier in the 21st century have also made cargo control easier. Women can now tie down cargo and cover it with truck tarps as quickly and effectively as men.
3. More Driver Teams
The last decade has seen a marked increase in the number of driver teams on the roads. Teams can keep the wheels turning longer in the day because there are two drivers instead of one. As you might expect, teams are perfect for female drivers who want to work with their spouses or, for safety reasons, hit the road with another female.
4. Greater Safety Awareness
The unfortunate truth about women in trucking a decade ago was that they were not in a very safe environment. That has changed as well. Greater safety awareness among trucking companies, truck drivers, and truck stop operators have made things a lot better. Women are now more comfortable than ever before driving solo, knowing that the industry is looking out for them.
5. The Growing Regional Model
Finally, the logistics industry is undergoing a transformation that now places a greater emphasis on a regional model over long-haul trucking. The industry will never completely eliminate long-haul routes, but putting greater emphasis on regional routes is creating more jobs that offer more home time. This is important to women, who often find it difficult to juggle their careers and home life.
No Longer a Man’s World
At Mytee Products inAurora, Ohio, sales representatives are seeing growing numbers of female drivers coming in for cargo control supplies. It’s the same everywhere else in the industry. With trucking companies now aggressively recruiting female drivers, more and more of those women are joining the ranks of an industry that is still dominated by males – at least in terms of numbers.
Will trucking continue to recruit female drivers? Absolutely. With tens of thousands of trucking jobs open right now, motor carriers will leave no stone unturned to find drivers to fill them. And because women have been terribly underserved in times past, trucking companies believe it’s high time to get them into the industry.
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