Tag Archives: women truckers 2290

Promoting all women in the trucking industry

The Women In Trucking Association represents all women employed in the trucking industry.  We represent the women who design the trucks, build the trucks, buy the trucks, fix the trucks and drive the trucks.  If you are one of the five percent of female drivers or one of the fourteen percent of female managers in the trucking industry, we are here for you.

The overall purpose of the organization is to increase the percentage of women working in the trucking industry to utilize unrealized potential.  As former US DOT Secretary ray LaHood said, “After all – regardless of gender – everyone uses our transportation systems, and those systems will serve us more effectively when they are planned, designed, engineered and built by the professionals who represent all of us. Continue reading

Why does YOUR company need more women in leadership?

“The closer that America comes to fully employing the talents of all its citizens, the greater the output of goods and services will be.”

Warren Buffett

The Women In Trucking mission includes encourage the employment of women working in the trucking industry. We understand that there is a need for professional drivers, and women are underrepresented in this area, but what about women in management?

You should strive for more women in your leadership roles.  Not because it’s the right thing to do, but because it affects your bottom line.  Pepperdine University found a correlation between high-level female executives and business success.  The Harvard Business Review reported firms with the best records for promoting women outperform industry medians with overall profits thirty four percent higher.  Catalyst research found that companies with the highest representation of women leaders financially outperform, on average, companies with the lowest.
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Focus on hiring veterans at the White House

It’s no secret that the trucking industry is experiencing a need for qualified drivers. Many carriers have made a commitment to hire more veterans for both driving and managerial positions. However, the unemployment rate for veterans continues to be an area of concern for both employers and the government.

Did you know there were over 500,000 unemployed veterans as of December 2014 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics? They also reported that 1.5 million veterans were only employed in part time positions.
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WIT, Ellen Voie – article

In the 1993 children’s novel The Giver by Lois Lowry, all children are assigned to a career or job at the age of twelve. The community leaders determine who will be engineers, legislators, shopkeepers, and even surrogate mothers. 
 
Although the author doesn’t address the role of professional driver, this is an assumption made based on the society’s effort to control the community by “assigning” a job according to the child’s skills and aptitude.
 
For those of us in the United States and Canada, we have the option to choose our life aspirations and to change those goals as we mature. In fact, many of us made career choices in high school, but changed those ideals based on our experiences and circumstances. 
 
Even those of us who entered college with a specific course of education in mind probably changed our major more often than we had anticipated. When addressing groups at a conference I often ask whether they had CHOSEN a career in transportation when they were younger. For most of them, the answer is “no.” 
 
The common perception by the general public is that truck drivers often pursue the career as a last resort. Maybe they were laid off from a construction or factory job and they responded to a recruiting ad to obtain a CDL and become a professional driver. This perception isn’t entirely misleading. 
 
The problem we have in the United States and Canada is that we are limited in focusing on teenagers as drivers because of the interstate restrictions that require a driver to be at least 21 years old to transport loads across state lines. Add to that a two-year experience requirement for many insurance providers and you’ve got a work force that starts at the age of 23. 
 
While we don’t want to assign twelve-year-old children to the role of professional driver as depicted in The Giver, it would be difficult to make a prospective driver wait another nine years to earn a living in the trucking industry.
 
There are ways to encourage children to consider a career in the trucking industry, especially as professional drivers. Other countries are ahead of us in this effort.
 
In Sweden, education is mandatory for children ages seven to sixteen. Although there are classes for younger children, compulsory comprehensive school, named “Grundskola,” begins at the age of six or seven. While most schools are publicly funded, there are a few independent schools in Sweden that might have a different orientation than their government counterparts. 
 
Once the student has completed nine years of primary school, they can elect to enter secondary school, named “Gymnasieskola.” In this environment, they are given the option to prepare for higher education or to receive a vocation education. During this three-year education, the students are further divided into programs, or different educational pursuits. Those who choose vocational courses will receive at least fifteen weeks of workplace training over the three years.
 
While core courses are taught to all students in “Gymnasieskola,” the student is guided into program specific classes. One of those vocational training options is in “automotive and transportation.”
 
Sweden, like most of the transportation industries, was experiencing a need for professional drivers. The percentage of females was very low; estimated at about two percent. With smaller trucks, shorter routes, and more home time, the job should have been more attractive to both men and women. 
 
However, efforts to address this need through secondary education have been successful, especially in northern Sweden at the Lapland Gymnasieskola. Here, girls are guided into traditionally male careers at a rate that exceeds the boys, with forty to sixty percent of them preparing for jobs such as mining and transportation.
 
Female drivers are valued for their aversion to risk and their exceptional treatment of the vehicles, where, according to a TV Gallivere article, “they treat the large vehicles better than male colleagues, they force them not as hard and take [fewer] chances.”
 
Bill Rehn, of TYA Sweden, the Vocational Training and Working Environment Council, is excited about the efforts to encourage girls to consider careers in trucking. “We now have eighteen percent of women in the secondary school for transport truck driving and that is very good.” He added, “Twelve percent of the employment of new truck drivers in Sweden [are] women.”
 
Although the Elders in The Giver didn’t give children the option to choose, they did make their determinations based on talents and skills. Perhaps we should look at the Swedish model.
 
With a projected 100,000 new drivers needed annually, we must to reconsider the way we recruit and train the next generation of drivers. Encouraging the next generation to look at careers as professional drivers by prompting them into vocational programs during their high school years instead seems to be working.
 
Maybe Sweden’s model provides a needed solution to the future driver shortage.

There’s an association for that!

Women In Trucking Association is an organization whose mission is to “encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the trucking industry.”

Dictionary.com defines an association as “an organization of people with a common purpose and having a formal structure” or “a connection of ideas…correlation of elements of perception, reasoning, or the like.” Continue reading

Walk through a trade show and see what big hearts are in the trucking industry.

Anyone who thinks the trucking industry has an image problem needs to step up to the challenge and help change it. In fact, at the recent Great American Trucking Show (GATS), there were many opportunities to see how much positive change professional drivers and those who support them initiate.

You might have heard about the ALS (amyotropic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease) Ice Bucket Challenge. Cari Baylor of Baylor Trucking hosted the challenge during the three days of the truck show. The ice and water were quite a contrast to the one hundred plus temperatures in Dallas that week. Many drivers and company and vendor representatives took the challenge and were drenched under the bucket’s cold contents. Continue reading

What does a professional driver love about his or her job?

What attracts someone to the trucking industry?  Is it the freedom of being on the road or is it the above average pay?  Maybe it’s just a last resort for many who are unable to find or keep a job elsewhere.

The Women In Trucking Association, along with University of Wisconsin-Stout graduate students wanted to know the answer to this question.  So, four students in Dr. Jeanette Kersten’s Organizational Development Class conducted research to find out what brings men and women into the trucking industry, as well as what keeps them here. Continue reading

We’re not there yet.

A recent article about FMCSA Administrator, Anne Ferro, prompted numerous responses, but they weren’t all about the issue itself.  Instead, the topic turned to gender and how the reader felt that Ms. Ferro was not qualified to head the administration because she is a woman.

I checked my calendar and it IS 2014, isn’t it?  Can’t we get beyond the issue of gender?  Apparently, we’re not there yet.  Mr. Smith (obviously a pseudo name) claims “women getting into politics and other issues … are guiding us down, down, down.”
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Thanksgiving and Giving Thanks

As the leaves turn to bright colors and drop from the trees, we anticipate a change in seasons and the coming of winter holidays. November in the U.S., October in Canada, brings Thanksgiving and a time to reflect on the past year as we share the day with our family and friends.

Thanksgiving was designed as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest. In the U.S., we attribute the observation to the Pilgrims who emigrated from England to the land of opportunity. Some of these settlers moved north into Canada and the traditions were observed in their new environment.

For many, the holiday is a day off from work; although in the trucking industry, that’s not as common. We combine family, friends, and food and, perhaps a parade or football game on television. The focus is on the important things we all share and how our lives are better because of these people and things.

Regardless of our financial or physical situation, we all have something to be thankful for this year. Robert Quillen, an American journalist, once said, “If you count all your assets, you always show a profit.”

If you’re still not ready to spend the day focusing on things you should be thankful for, consider your health. People who count their blessings are healthier and happier than those who don’t. A 2003 survey in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggests keeping a list of things you are thankful for will give you a better outlook on life and a more positive attitude.

For students, grateful high-schoolers have better grades and more positive social interaction according to a 2010 study in the Journal of Happiness studies. They are also less depressed than their peers. So encourage your children to be thankful each day, but especially on Thanksgiving.

If you have trouble falling asleep, try making a list of things you are thankful for and you’ll not only fall asleep faster, you’ll stay asleep longer according the an article in the journal of Applied Psychology called Health and Well-Being.

Grateful people make better friends and often have better relationships with their spouse or partner and help promote team happiness when they are involved in team sports (Huffington Post, November, 2012).

Most importantly, being thankful can reduce hypertension and the chance of sudden death for those with coronary artery disease or congestive heart failure (according to a study in the American Journal of Cardiology, 1995). Your immune system also benefits from a positive attitude according to a University of Utah study on law students and pessimism.

Eating turkey and reclining in front of the television might not be the most healthy way to spend a holiday, but if you integrate thankfulness and gratitude you can offset some of the negative effects of the food and lack of activity.

A wikiHow article offers six steps to being more thankful.

1) Relax (reduce anger and frustration to allow positive thoughts)

2) Live in the moment (stop dwelling on the past)

3) Focus on using your senses:  smell, savor, touch, and listen

4) Cherish lightheartedness, like laughter, affection and playfulness

5) Take a vacation (even if it’s a day away from work)

6) Keep a gratitude journal. It’ll remind you of things you have been grateful for in the past.

Giving thanks takes practice, but over time it becomes less challenging and will help make your overall attitude more positive. Thanksgiving is intended as a day to give as a reason to reflect on all the things we should be thankful for.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving from all of us at Women In Trucking Association.

Women in business, includes women in trucks!

In the wake of “Lean In” and other recent books touting the need for more women in leadership roles, I wondered how some of their revelations could be applied to women in the trucking industry.

Instead of focusing on the executive suite, how do some of these findings affect the rare (5 percent in the U.S. and 3 percent in Canada) woman who has chosen a career as a professional driver?

First, research has revealed that men will apply for a position (and assume they can meet the criteria) when they have sixty percent of the qualifications listed for the job. For women, the number is one hundred percent. She won’t even apply for a job if she feels there is an aspect of the role that she hasn’t mastered.

In effect, a man will assume he can learn the other requirements and a woman assumes she must already know them. How might this affect the driver population as a recruiting issue?

While backing and shifting are two of the most difficult skills a driver must have (or learn), a man might go for the job and figure out a way to grow into the needed skills. For women, these skills might prove to be in the forty percent of the job requirement they feel they don’t already have and so she will refrain from applying.

How can we convince these women they can and will master these skills?

Another study found that men are often hired for their potential, but women are hired based on what they have accomplished. How might this affect your recruiting efforts?

The days of hiring those strapping young farm boys are over. As more automation replaces the family farm, the kids who drove tractors, bailers, and corn harvestors at the age of twelve are gone.

Today, many of the drivers recruited into the industry come from almost every walk of life, from attorney to nurse to construction worker. The guy with limited experience driving the forklift in a warehouse may often be hired before his female co-worker from the assembly line.

Experience trumps potential and for professional drivers, this attitude too often favors men.

One more factor that affects hiring practices relating to gender relates to how we credit those around us. It has been found that men give themselves credit for their accomplishments, where women, too often, give credit to others.

How could this affect our hiring and the retention of female drivers? Is it more typical for guys to need the support of those around them or is that an attribute that women are more likely to experience? If it`s been proven that women look toward their peers for encouragement and advice, then we need to consider how this might affect them in their role as a professional driver.

In fact, many women who enter the trucking industry find themselves in an environment that is less than supportive and sometimes even hostile. Ask any female driver how SOME of her male colleagues treat her on the road or at the truck stop on the CB and you’ll hear stories about a few drivers who feel women shouldn’t be sharing the road in an 18 wheeler.

How sad. Despite how remote the incident, no woman should ever have to listen to a peer harass her when she’s just doing her job.

Most drivers are supportive and accommodating, but the one or two vocal jerks on the road always seem to be the loudest.

A supportive environment, an employer who understands how to remove bias in hiring, and a job that is free from harassment will help us attract and retain more women in trucking.