Trucking is a timeless field, but it’s been in a constant state of evolution since its inception.
Throughout the decades we’ve seen changes in driving habits, truck design, and carrier management strategies. But perhaps the biggest change in recent memory saw trucking open its driver door to a whole new talent pool.
While it’s true that women truck drivers have been around for a long time, only in recent years have we seen female trucking turn into a full movement.
Now women truck drivers are popping up everywhere, along with logistics planners, freight managers, and more. Today we’ll cover the impact of women in trucking and why they’re vital for the field’s future.
Why Truck Driving is for Everyone
We’ve covered it before in our rundown of the biggest trucking misconceptions, but it bears repeating.
For decades, the truck driving industry had a reputation as a sort of “men’s club.” For whatever reason, the field felt like it shut out an entire group of drivers.
But who wouldn’t like the chance to see the open road and different parts of the world? How about the chance to enjoy more solitude and freedom in your work life? Obviously, these qualities appeal to people from all walks of life regardless of gender.
The more people share life on the road, the more the road calls to us – and many women are answering.
The idea of entering a field that’s largely unexplored for women may also bring a certain appeal. It represents a new challenge, a new opportunity, and a new adventure all rolled into one.
Just like truckers help one another by taking turns driving or loading freight, so too are women truck drivers helping their fellow female colleagues. Now the Women in Trucking Association helps mentor new female drivers so they can take to the field that much quicker.
Not Just Behind the Wheel
While women truck drivers are on the road every day, the trucking industry runs on the combined efforts of various positions.
There are also mechanics, logistics planners, trainers, and other roles that help make every trip successful. Women are finding their way into these roles, and enjoying the ability trucking offers its workers to transition between them.
Let’s not forget upper management. The top leaders of freight companies are some of the most diligent and thoughtful planners a field could have. These minds must monitor freight demand, consumer behavior, trucking regulations, driver needs, and countless other factors to run a successful business.
While women represent about half the trucking workforce, they represent roughly a quarter of all management roles. That’s a number that’s climbed throughout recent years, and shows no signs of stopping.
Everything from accelerated digital transformation to environmental concerns impact our field daily. It’s a perfect time to bring a more diverse array of thoughts, perspectives, and skills to the management side of the truck driving industry.
Having fresh minds and fresh takes in the field is just as important as the drivers behind the wheel.
Why Trucking Needs Women More Than Ever
Speaking of drivers behind the wheel, trucking needs its female truck drivers more than ever.
This is for one simple reason – the driver shortage continues to worsen.
It’s not just that trucking is struggling to bring on new drivers. The drivers it does have are on their way out. Given its workforce is above average age compared to other fields, the truck driving industry will see about a quarter of its current roster retire within the next decade.
In this case, even shifting a staffing focus to center on retention wouldn’t do much to lessen the economic blow of this shortage. However, the industry can offset it by focusing on recruiting more female truck drivers.
Rather than lean into their familiar male-centered hiring efforts, exploring other talent pools could help carriers fill their dwindling rosters. It would also give them a chance to invest in brand new employees.
Carriers should remember that it’s not just about hiring female drivers – support is critical for helping them excel. Training, support, and transparency are all proven pillars of retention when you’re onboarding new people.
We speak from first-hand experience. Drivers like Jessica McCorkle make a fantastic addition to the Hermes team. Though young in her career as a trucker, she’s taken to the job fast thanks to her thirst to learn and grow in the role.
Recognizing Women During Truck Driver Appreciation Week
Awesome drivers like Jessica help move the freight we rely on every day. As National Truck Driver Appreciation Week rolls in, it’s a fine time to thank all the drivers who do this vital and essential job.
Since 2021 is a time when more female truck drivers are making their presence known in the field, maybe we could take an extra second to appreciate them.
Despite some lingering stereotypes and the occasional odd look they face on the job, these women are showing that they belong in trucking – more than that, they’re showing they’re vital to the field’s continued growth and success.
So if you’re one of the people who will celebrate this week-long event from September 12–18, whether it’s through a shirt, a hashtag, or just a kind word to a trucker in your life, thank the men and women in trucking who do so much for us.
Hermes Appreciates Current and Future Female Truckers
With more women in trucking than ever, carriers must be ready to welcome them in and make them feel valued. It’s important for the driver’s career, the company’s performance, and the future of our field as a whole.
Here at Hermes, we appreciate both current and future female truck drivers. Even if you’re just starting your career out, we want to hear from you.
Hermes is looking for talented truck drivers who like consistent hours, bonus opportunities, and a supportive environment. Ladies, whether you’re a trucking industry vet, brand new, or somewhere in between, let’s talk. Get the conversation going here – a new career with Hermes could await.