Women in the Driver's Seat: What It's Like Being a Female Truck Driver

Smiling portrait of a happy and diverse group of female middle aged truckers working for a trucking company

As more women enter the industry, there are opportunities for career advancement within trucking companies. Becoming a driver is the most direct and common role for individuals in commercial trucking. Women can find success as long-haul, regional, or local truck drivers, transporting goods across the country.

Just like their male counterparts, women have the potential to earn competitive salaries, and high pay is possible with experience, an excellent driving record, and specialized training. While commercial trucking has historically been a male-dominated industry, becoming a female truck driver is a viable career path as the industry becomes increasingly open and welcoming. While challenges may still exist, many trucking companies have been making efforts to promote diversity and inclusivity.

What Percentage of Truckers are Female?

When it comes to numbers, commercial trucking is still a male-dominated industry. As of 2021, women account for 4.8% of 1.37 million truck drivers in the United States, up 4% from the last decade, according to recent government statistics. The 2019 WIT Index also estimates that women make up over 10% of over-the-road (OTR) truck drivers, up nearly 30% from the 7.89% observed in the 2018 WIT Index.

The increase was the result of an industry-wide push to include more women drivers in response to a capacity crunch from the previous year. The WIT Index was founded in 2016 and serves as the industry’s official barometer for measuring the percentage of women who work in transportation, hold corporate positions, and sit on boards of directors.

What’s It Like Being a Female Truck Driver?

The typical day for a woman truck driver can vary based on factors such as the type of driving, the cargo being transported, and the country they’re in. Here’s a general overview of what a day in the life of a female truck driver in the United States might look like:

 

A driver’s daily routine can vary based on specific job responsibilities and preferences. Female truck drivers navigate the same tasks and challenges as their male counterparts, contributing to the essential work of transporting goods across the country.

Portrait of a female middle aged african american truck driver sitting in her truck and smiling in the US

Life for Women Truck Drivers

Women truck drivers, just like other drivers, face a unique set of challenges and obstacles in the trucking industry. However, it’s important to note that the industry is evolving, and efforts are being made to address gender-related issues.

Here are some challenges faced by female truck drivers and unique skills that can be beneficial in the profession:

  • The long hours and extended periods away from home can contribute to feelings of isolation. This can be challenging for anyone in the profession, but it may be a unique concern for women.
  • Some truck stops and rest areas may lack adequate facilities and services for women, such as access to well-maintained restrooms and secure parking areas.
  • Personal safety is a consideration for all truck drivers. Women, in particular, may have concerns about safety at truck stops or rest areas, especially during overnight stops.
  • Truck driving requires adaptability to changing road conditions, weather, and schedules. Being able to handle unexpected challenges is a valuable skill.


Tips for Women Truckers

Finding a job and securing employment

Explore resources on potential trucking companies and research their policies, culture, and reputation. Look for companies that actively support diversity and inclusion and minimize obstacles faced by women drivers. Connect with industry networks and organizations that support women in trucking. Networking with other female drivers can provide valuable insights, advice, and support.

Reaching out to other women truckers

Building connections with other women drivers can help encourage women and create a sense of camaraderie. Trucking can be a solitary profession, and having a strong community of supportive colleagues can provide emotional support and encouragement.

Women in the trucking industry often share common experiences and challenges. Speak with others who understand these experiences can foster a sense of community and shared identity. More experienced women drivers can offer valuable career advice and guidance to those who are new to the industry. Finding the company and learning from the experiences of others can help women truck drivers navigate challenges.

Maintaining work-life balance

The schedules of women drivers, including long hours on the road, can make it challenging for individuals to balance the demands of the job and the need to make money with family responsibilities. Fortunately, truckers don’t have to wait to get home to talk to their loved ones. They can stay connected with family and friends using technology. Video calls, messaging apps, and social media can help bridge the distance and provide a sense of connection while on the road.

Truckers can improve their wellness by incorporating healthy habits into their daily schedule. This can include regular exercise and meal planning. It can simply be a matter of bringing healthy snacks from the house to the road. They can also take better care of their physical and mental health with a balanced diet, staying hydrated, and finding ways to manage stress.

New Drivers: Getting a Commercial Driver’s License and More

Women interested in becoming truck drivers can follow several steps to get started in the profession. Here’s a general guide:

Portrait of a female middle aged african american trucker standing by her truck and smiling in the US

The Benefits of Hiring Female Truck Drivers

As the industry becomes more inclusive, companies are recognizing the value of diversity can contribute to improved efficiency, safety, and overall success. The trucking industry is facing a shortage of qualified drivers. Encouraging more women to enter the profession helps address this shortage and increases the pool of potential candidates. By actively recruiting women, trucking companies can tap into a previously underutilized segment of the population. This expands the talent pool and brings in individuals with diverse skills and experiences.

Is Truck Driving a Good Career for Women?

As a woman, it is possible to have a fruitful career as a truck driver and be paid well. With the demand for qualified drivers. As a result, there are ample job opportunities for both men and women. The industry offers a variety of driving opportunities, including long-haul, regional, and local routes. Women can choose roles that align with their preferences and lifestyle. Experienced drivers may move into roles such as fleet management, training, or specialized driving positions.

Other Career Opportunities for Women Truck Drivers

The commercial trucking industry offers a range of career opportunities for women beyond the role of a professional truck driver. As the industry becomes more inclusive and diverse, companies encourage women to pursue careers in various aspects of trucking. With more options than ever, women can move into roles such as fleet management, training, and leadership positions:

  • Fleet Manager: Fleet managers are responsible for overseeing the operations of a fleet of trucks. They coordinate routes, schedules, and maintenance, ensuring efficient and safe transportation.
  • Dispatcher: Dispatchers play a crucial role in coordinating the movement of trucks. They communicate with drivers, monitor routes, and handle logistical challenges to ensure timely deliveries.
  • Safety Manager: Safety managers focus on ensuring compliance with safety regulations and implementing safety programs within a trucking company. They work to reduce accidents and improve overall safety.
  • Trucking Instructor: Certified trucking instructors teach aspiring drivers the skills and knowledge needed to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). This role involves both classroom instruction and hands-on training.
  • Owner-Operator: Women entrepreneurs can choose to become owner-operators, managing their own trucking businesses. This involves owning and operating a commercial truck independently or with a small fleet.
  • Logistics Coordinator: Logistics coordinators manage the flow of goods, coordinating transportation, warehousing, and distribution to ensure efficient supply chain operations.
  • Supply Chain Analyst: Supply chain analysts focus on optimizing supply chain processes. They analyze data, identify areas for improvement, and implement strategies to enhance efficiency.
  • Terminal Manager: Terminal managers oversee the operations of trucking terminals, ensuring that freight is loaded and unloaded efficiently, and overseeing maintenance activities.
  • Safety Inspector: Safety inspectors examine vehicles and equipment to ensure compliance with safety regulations. They play a role in maintaining a safe and well-maintained fleet.
  • Driver Recruiter: Driver recruiters work to attract and hire qualified truck drivers for a company. They may participate in recruitment events, evaluate candidates, and coordinate the hiring process.
  • Technology Specialist: With the increasing integration of technology in the industry, there are opportunities for women to work as technology specialists, focusing on areas such as telematics, routing software, and fleet management systems.
  • Customer Service Representative: Customer service representatives in the trucking industry assist customers with inquiries, track shipments, and ensure overall satisfaction with transportation services.
  • Government Relations Specialist: Professionals in this role work on issues related to government regulations and policies that affect the trucking industry. They may engage with regulatory agencies and advocate for industry interests.

These opportunities showcase the diverse roles available within the commercial trucking industry, providing avenues for women to contribute to the sector in various capacities. As the industry evolves, additional roles and opportunities will likely emerge.

Steer the Wheel of Your Truck Driving Career

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