The current driver shortage is opening up a massive door of opportunity for women drivers. Truck Drivers are predominately male. According to the Bureau of Labor and statistics in 2018, only 6.2% of truck drivers were female. For almost 20 years the number has bounced between four and six percent. There are challenges for both male and female drivers in the trucking industry.
Why More Women Are Driving Truck
Today women are looking at a career of becoming a commercial driver. They also receive the pay benefits and opportunities that are currently available to female truck drivers. In recent years support groups have developed on facebook, dedicated websites, and YouTube to allow female drivers to share their knowledge and experience with fellow drivers. These communities and mentorship programs inspire, empower, and educate women to either get started or press forward in their transportation career.
There are quite a few truck drivers that are retiring, which is adding to the already truck driver shortage. Proactive trucking companies are offering to pay for drivers to obtain a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) license. Additionally, some state’s unemployment offices provide grants or scholarships to cover the costs of getting your CDL to drive a big truck. This is another way to make a life-changing career move with less financial stress. But before you start making arrangements to get your CDL, let us talk about schedules that often come with the job.
Some female truck drivers are wives and mothers. The added family responsibility of children can be a little challenging, but many mothers are successfully conquering that challenge. Here are some of their schedules.
One over the road driver and mother works for about three weeks and then takes a few days at home with her family. She sometimes drives up to 11 hours a day but must stay within the regulation of no more than 70 hours of driving per eight days. This allows her to spend quality time with her family and also provide excellent insurance benefits, flexibility, and a substantial income for her family.
A veteran female truck driver no longer drives cross-country. She enjoys the pay and benefits of driving a truck and sleeps at home in her bed every night.
These two real-life examples illustrate that mothers can join the professional transportation industry and still manage their households with success. Since the number of women is relatively small in the trucking industry, there are still challenges on the threshold. Let us talk about some of the obstacles and how the current female workforce is overcoming them.
Clearing the Bumps in the Road
As with any profession you choose some bumps in the road, and prejudices must be overcome with the proper attitude. Truck driving is no different. This male-dominated industry has provided for America’s economy for many years and sometimes change in workforce structure can be a hard adjustment.
Nevertheless, change is necessary to keep America moving and for the economy to keep growing. There is still reported negative talk and bias against women drivers. Sometimes when a female truck driver backs up to the loading dock, she is observed by an audience. The best way to overcome that is by carefully showing them your driving skills. Back up to the dock, get out of your truck, and act like you did not notice the audience. Take your paperwork in and focus on your job.
Truck stops can be an occupational hazard in the driving profession. Drivers report that some are very dirty and smell like urine. There can also be illegal activities such as prostitution and drugs in the shower and lounge areas. Vulgar speech, snide, and unwelcomed remarks can also be apart of the truck stop scene. These conditions can get overwhelming at times. This is where the support community comes in to help give that extra little bit of empowerment you may need to keep on trucking.
You will need to be thick-skinned in this industry and focus on the fact you are a driving force in a previously male-dominated industry. So keep moving forward as a force for change and do not let anyone slow you down from acquiring the success and recognition you deserve for doing a job well done.
Pay and Advancement Opportunities
Trucking is one of the very few industries in America that no matter what your gender, everyone gets the same rate of pay. As of July 2019, it was reported that the average weekly salary for a solo truck driver is $1,176 per week. The salary is enticing, mainly because there is no college degree required.
Once a driver gets some experience behind the wheel. There are many opportunities for advancement. Some female drivers enjoy their job and invest in their future by buying a big truck. Owner-Operators currently average $5,088 per week as reported by Indeed. That puts a solo driver at a six-figure income for the year. There are more expenses in owning your truck, but the income opportunity is also higher.
The next level of advancement is also available to you. Drivers that excel in the paperwork and logistics aspect of the industry start their own trucking business. Here are some of the women-owned trucking business operational today.
These female-owned trucking operations bring in hundreds of millions of dollars per year. Being a truck driver is an excellent example of the impact women have been making on America’s trucking industry. The opportunity for success in the transportation industry is available to you too.
More and more trucking companies are stepping up their programs to promote favorable workplace conditions for women drivers. The management of some trucking companies realize the benefits of women drivers and have openly invited them to their teams. If you are currently one of the 6% of female truck drivers in American, thank you for your hard work and diligence. If you are looking to join the transportation industry and get to work, remember to keep thick-skinned, and you receive equal pay and benefits.
We thank all of America’s truck drivers male and female for the service they provide to keep America’s economy growing strong.