The trucking industry has been traditionally male-centric, whether they occupy truck cabs or office positions. When looking at safety statistics, men behind the wheel of tractor trailers are twenty percent more likely to be involved in a crash, particularly when approaching intersections.
A recent shortage of drivers may be altering that longtime dynamic.
In 2022, Women In Trucking revealed that females composed 14 percent of professional drivers, an increase of nearly eight percent in 2018. The significant increases are not only for driving but also dispatching, safety, technical, and executive-level positions that are currently exceeding 40 percent.
A growing demographic
The number of female truckers have grown, accounting for eight percent of drivers based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Women In Trucking Index reported that Class A licensed road drivers are at 14 percent, doubling numbers from five years ago. Similar associations are looking to increase the number of women, focusing their efforts on younger women looking to change careers.
The loss of drivers started during the COVID-19 pandemic when shutdowns affected and eventually changed the service, education, and medical industries, leading to significant staff burnout or unemployed from their previous industries.
Many turned to trucking, and industry that was spared from the pandemic’s impact and never experienced a slowdown.
With a downturn in staffing levels, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and other unions are focusing on eliminating barriers to women entering the industry. Their goal is to remove roadblocks that include safety risks, wage-related issues, and an overall lack of training and ongoing support.
In 2021, The American Truck Association reported a shortage of 80,000 drivers, with predictions that the deficit could double by 2030. Filling potential gaps is of paramount importance to the industry and the national economy, not to mention potentially reducing the number of serious accidents.