Picture your average truck driver. Chances are, the person you’re thinking of right now is wearing a baseball cap, perhaps a plaid shirt… and they’re definitely male.
The fact is, women drivers represent a huge untapped labour force—and they’re just as good at driving as men, if not better.
Female drivers have more patience on the road, drive less aggressively,
and are 27% less likely to cause an accident. This isn’t just good for your trucks—it’s also good news for your bottom line. Fewer accidents means fewer repairs, legal cases, and lower insurance premiums.
When it comes to attracting more women drivers, there are a number of things fleet managers and trucking companies need to address.
- Encourage Women to Enter the Trucking Industry
Male trucking culture needs to be changed from the ground up. We need to avoid gendered language when talking about jobs, and recognize that no job is specific to any gender. This includes embracing diversity within trucking companies themselves.
According to McKinsey, “Gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to earn above-average revenue.” Diversity also improves your company’s reputation—something that’s particularly important for attracting women, who will naturally seek out companies that already have a roster of female drivers and are known for accommodating their needs.
Even if you don’t currently have any female drivers on your team, it’s important to educate your male staff about the importance of supporting their female peers. Create greater awareness about the fact that a good economy is contingent on changing the trucking gender ratio. Challenge common misconceptions about female drivers and take a zero-stance attitude towards sexism.
- Attract Women Truck Drivers
The trucking industry is rife with situations where women’s health is put at risk. So, when it comes to attracting and recruiting female truckers, you need to show them their wellbeing is a priority.
First, address the physical side of things. Truck cabs are generally designed to accommodate a male driver. As the infographic below shows, women are usually shorter and lighter, which makes it harder for them to reach the controls and find a comfortable seat position.
When you’re on the road for days at a time, comfort is paramount. Not only does discomfort cause stress—it also represents an occupational health hazard.
Many truck manufacturers are designing vehicles that are ergonomically oriented towards women. Purchase cabs that are designed to accommodate female drivers and work with a professional to ensure your drivers are operating the vehicle comfortably.
- Empower Female Drivers
According to a survey by Women in Trucking, when asked to rate their on-the-job feeling of safety from 1 (unsafe) to 10 (safe), female respondents averaged just 4.4.
Life can be tough for women on the road. Writing for USA Today, journalist Chris Woodyard says the female drivers he spoke to said they have to “watch out for sexual predators, confront inappropriate male coworkers and care for children or elderly parents while thousands of miles from home.”
Meanwhile, in a USA Today interview, driver Tami Mendoza Clark said she slept with a baseball bat until she felt more comfortable with the trucking life.
Companies can address these issues by providing additional support. Trucking organizations are increasingly offering counseling about how to stay safe, along with mentorship programs and forums where drivers can discuss things like mental health, safety, health, and more.
Male drivers can also massively benefit from these additional services and many welcome a more diverse, wellbeing-focused approach.