There is a desperate need for tractor trailer drivers in the trucking industry. Women could help fill the demand.
In recent years the tractor trailer industry has grown exponentially, leading to more opportunities and higher demand for truckers. This is because, since the end of the recession, consumers have increased spending on commercial goods. Since tractor trailer operators are essential in the delivery process, an increase in the sale of commercial products results in an increased demand for truckers.
While demand for drivers has been consistently increasing, the supply of drivers has remained relatively constant. As a result, there is currently a drastic shortage of truck drivers in the industry.
Nationally, the trucking industry needs about 50,000 more drivers to end this shortage.
The opportunities for women in the trucking industry are greater than they have ever been due to the shortage of drivers. Because of this, many women have begun entering into the field. In 2010, women made up about four and a half percent of the U.S. truck driver population and, in 2015, that figure rose to six percent. This upward trend is expected to increase further as women are beginning to feel more welcome in the previously male-dominated profession.
A Difference in Education
At Fox Valley Technical College in Wisconsin, the truck-driving training program has had an increased number of women enroll in recent years. According to Department Chair John Mueller, women used to only make up about five percent of each class. Now, they make up between ten and fifteen percent.
Recently, a Fox Valley Tech female graduate was named national Rookie of the Year for truck driving. “That was pretty big for her and for the industry,” said Mueller.
The truck-driving training program has a 98 percent job placement rate for students. Many come in with jobs already lined up.
Executives in the trucking industry say that a large challenge in recruiting women is making sure that they feel welcome. “There have been a lot of stereotypes over the years about the independent, male truck driver in a macho industry,” said Derek Leathers, president and Chief Operating Officer of Werner Enterprises. This stereotype is certainly being challenged as more and more women are step up to the task.
Women should rest assured that they are more than welcome in the trucking industry. Women and men are treated and paid equally in the industry and steps are being taken to ensure equality. Ellen Voie, Chief Executive of Women in Trucking Association, states that “As a truck driver, you [women] make the same amount of money as your male peers because you either get paid by the mile or the load of the percentage. Gender is not an issue in pay.”
As time progresses, we will continue to see more and more female truck drivers as women continue to break down barriers and revolutionize the trucking industry.