If you are a typical trucking company, you have one female driver for every 19 males. This is the national average (around five percent). There are some carriers who enjoy a much higher female driver pool. What are they doing differently?
First, they have a culture that values and appreciates women. Years ago you could walk into a terminal and see more women in the mechanic’s calendars than you did in trucks. There were only men’s restrooms and showers and the few female drivers who entered the lounge were teased mercilessly.
Fortunately, that has changed, but not everywhere. There are some places that haven’t changed the environment and those are the carriers that have a hard time attracting women to the workforce.
Look at the company’s recruiting ads. Do they always show a male driver with his mind on the “wife and kids at home?” One recruiting ad said the company was looking for “a few good mustaches.” Another ad read “take your wife to the big island.” Do they really think women feel included in these recruiting efforts?
Are there women visible in management roles at the carrier? If so, women will feel welcomed and valued by the company when they see more women in leadership roles.
Another thing to think about is your pet policy. For many women, a pet is not only a companion, but a safety feature. A barking dog has scared away more than one predator in a parking lot and many women require a pet friendly company policy.
Following are ways some carriers that have joined Women In Trucking Association as corporate members are engaging their female drivers.
- 1. Find a way to bring them together. Host an event or give them all t-shirts that identify them as drivers for your company.
- 2. Sign them up as members of Women In Trucking so they can enjoy the benefits as well. They’ll receive invitations to networking events, opportunities for mentoring, a weekly e-newsletter, a lapel pin and membership card and more, for only $10 under the corporate membership.
- 3. Send them to the Salute to Women Behind the Wheel held each March at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky. They’ll receive a red t-shirt and a bag filled with goodies from the sponsors while they enjoy the chocolate fountains and entertainment. Visit salute2women.com for information about the event.
- 4. Direct them to the Women In Trucking Association Facebook page where over 5,000 drivers share tips, trials, and successes with one another. The site is monitored by drivers for drivers and the information is current and relevant.
- 5. Encourage your current drivers to mentor a newcomer. You can direct them to the Women In Trucking website, or just ask your own drivers to offer support and encouragement to those new to the company.
There are carriers that are becoming more aggressive in their efforts to recruit female drivers because of the benefits women bring. Not just as drivers filling a need, but as well qualified employees who bring a different perspective to the job.
As drivers, women take fewer risks according to Ron Kipling, author of “Safety for the Long Haul.” Kipling credits this trait as being related to differences in the level of testosterone between men and women.
Trucking company executives often tell me that women are better at completing their paperwork and often treat their equipment better than their male counterparts. Regarding communication, women are often viewed as being better with customers as well.
As trucks become more driver friendly and the freight is no longer being “fingerprinted” by drivers, the opportunity to become a professional driver extends beyond those who are big, muscular, and mechanically minded. The length of haul is getting shorter and time at home is viewed as crucial in attracting and retaining drivers.
Adding women to the driver pool is not just something we should do to fill a need; it’s something we should be doing because we have an opportunity to utilize under-represented potential.
As carriers, you can attract and retain more women and you should WANT to be increasing your percentage of female drivers. Use these suggestions and maybe you can enjoy more safe and conscientious drivers in your fleet.