Driving big rigs has, for whatever reason, previously been established as a man’s job. Luckily, with the rise of feminism and the admission that women are capable of doing a job well done, more women are moving into the industry. While we certainly are not complaining about the job opportunities being opened to ladies, the question remains as to why suddenly women are choosing this work field? Even so, what was keeping women away from this field previously? Many women are moving into jobs that don’t seem “glamorous” such as firefighters, police officers, and in this instance— a big rig, long haul, truck driver.
The biggest reason we are seeing women moving into the trucking industry has got to be the pay. Deb La Bree, a Peterbilt Truck driver who used to be in the more “typical” gender normed position of being a cosmetologist, switched to driving a truck for this exact reason. While other companies have variable numbers for what they pay each employee, which they claimed is based on experience and education, truck companies pay based on loads or miles, which have no gender bias attached to them.
In 2018, the beginning pay for truck drivers was $43,680, and for a job that requires no college education that pay is an enticing entrance amount. Of course, experience will increase that pay, or the company you work for, but overall the trucking industry has seen very little discrimination between the genders, even though women still make up less than 10% of those employed, that number goes up 68% every year. It’s just a matter of time before the industry is on even grounds with the genders.
The second reason would be newer technology in the trucks. Trucks, such as the Peterbilt Truck for sale, now come with better visibility, more adjustable seats to accommodate the differences in sizes, and even more modern transmission systems, making the trucks themselves more accessible for a larger work force either way. Aside from just making the driving an improvement, technology has made driving safer as well. Women may be making strides, but safety is always a concern. Many new trucks come with upgraded alarm systems, or even tracking devices that can help a woman feel like she is provided some safety while traveling solo.
Because truckers are in higher demands, they’re being appreciated for their skill of simply driving, and not being required to unload as well. Previously a driver would load, haul, and unload. However, this decreases productivity and increases the cost of insurance (considering loading and unloading is dangerous) and therefore inspired companies to stop requiring that of their drivers. Now, the demands of being able to life 75 pounds or higher is removed from the job requirements, which means more people are likely to apply in general. Women specifically are likely to apply because of the lower strenuous work, but also the less time spent in a potentially dangerous place. Unloading is potentially dangerous because you have to be focused not the activity at hand, and being in a male dominated workplace while focusing on heavy equipment is not a woman’s idea of staying safe on the job.
Seeing someone who looks like you in a job position, matters. When a woman walks into a company and she’s the only woman, she’s immediately going to wonder why that is the case. Now that women have begun getting into the trucking industry, other women are inspired that perhaps this could be the job for them as well. When we see that other women are successfully creating a life for themselves by driving a long haul truck, we are more likely to believe that this job is an option. If you’ve only ever seen men doing a job, it’s hard to imagine yourself doing it as a woman. However, women break those molds every day and it only takes one woman to show another that she can, and she will.
In fact, this idea of perception is not a hidden secret. Many trucking companies have learned that women are an untapped potential for recruitment and have therefore begun marketing to them directly. Billboards, commercials, even YouTube ads where the testimonial of a woman is provided on why truck driving is great is all that is needed to get women new to the workforce inspired to get begin a big rig. Not to mention, skipping the need to get into college debt for a good profession by going straight to trucking.
Freedom of Choice
Let’s call it like it is; women are sick of being told what to do by almost everyone. On the road, independently driving, every choice you make belongs to you and you alone. While in the truck, no manager is breathing down your neck about paperwork, about conversations between coworkers, about anything really. No one likes to be micromanaged, women or men, and a truck driver gets to escape that most of the time. Not only do you get to have that independent feeling while on the road, but many companies let you choose your schedule and offer a kind of flexibility you can’t get in other companies. Or even simply the option to spend a few extra days wherever you are destined to travel to if you want to enjoy the new sites, while other jobs just offer the basic for sided cubicles. For people who are self motivated, this type of freedom is unmatched in other industries.
Sometimes the simplest answer is the most correct, the job market for trucking is really solid. America is only increasing its need for drivers, and as economy and shipments increase so is that need. In addition, articles are reporting that a large portion of current drivers are due to retire, so these numbers for need are only going to continue to increase. When the job market has the tendency, as it does, to fluctuate, finding a career field that is stable and long lasting is anyone’s top concern, including women. Many trucking companies offer great benefits such as paying for a new hire’s CDL, insurance, tuition reimbursement, programs designed to help their employees become owners of their own trucks, and the list continues. In today’s economy, benefits are needed alongside a good paycheck or the job just isn’t worth it, and truck driving definitely has benefits that make the time away from home well paid for.
Now that women have infiltrated the industry, they won’t be going anywhere. In fact, there is even a new Girl Scout Transportation Patch, which was created with the hope that young girls would be inspired to take on this viable career as well. With the pay, the benefits, the opportunities, women should be included in the recruitment efforts and use this opportunity to advance themselves forward in the workforce in general.