New data shows the number of women drivers continues to grow
July 28, 2022
According to recent data released by the Women in Trucking Association, the number of female drivers in the trucking industry is climbing.
The Plover, Wis.-based association recently released the results of its 2022 Women In Trucking Index. According to Women in Trucking, the annual survey, which began in 2016, aims to be the “official industry barometer to benchmark and measure each year the percentage of women who make up roles in the transportation industry.”
The index tracks the percentage of women in the following roles:
- Corporate management (C-suite)
- Boards of directors
- Functional roles (operations, technicians, HR/talent management, marketing, sales, etc.)
- Professional drivers
Conducted over four months, from January through April 2022, the survey sought demographic information such as company type, total employee count, and the number of women in the aforementioned roles. There were 180 respondents to the 2022 WIT Index survey.
Data from the 2022 index states that women make up 13.7% of over-the-road drivers in the industry. According to the association, this marks a “significant increase” from the approximately 10% of female drivers in 2019.
“There are many reasons why women are candidates to be quality, reliable, efficient and safe professional truck drivers,” the WIT Index read. “First, they’re typically less likely to take risks and therefore can be safer drivers than men. In addition, women generally possess strong multitasking and organizations skills, they are strong communicators, and they usually are patient, focused and reliable. For these reasons and more, there has been a significant increase in the number of female truck drivers for the past five years.”
Ellen Voie, president and CEO of Women in Trucking, said the influx in female drivers began during the pandemic. Since then, her organization has been riding that wave and encouraging other women to get behind the wheel.
“We saw a big increase during the pandemic of people coming in because they saw that we had jobs,” Voie told Land Line. “A lot of women were in service industries such as hotels, convention centers, restaurants, things like that. So they lost their jobs and they saw that trucking still had jobs. We make every effort to tell stories of women who are in these careers. So we just kept telling stories and telling women that they could do it.”
While driver positions are being filled by more and more women, there is another area in the industry where women have asserted their presence. According to the 2022 index, among the respondents women comprised 39.6% of all leadership positions.
In fact, 34% of respondents indicated that women make up 50% or more of the executives in corporate management roles. Conversely, around 20% reported having no females in those roles. Despite that room for growth, Voie said her organization is excited about the progress being made in this area.
“Shelley Simpson was just named president of J.B. Hunt and Cummins just named Jennifer Rumsey their CEO,” she said. “So we are just so thrilled that companies aren’t automatically assuming that it’s the men who are better qualified. They’re actually being gender neutral in regards to promoting and bringing women in leadership.”
In addition to demographic information, the 2022 WIT Index also asked participants about their company’s formal diversity and inclusion policy.
Among the respondents, 45.5% confirmed their organizations have a formal diversity and inclusion policy in place. Additionally, 18% saying their organization is in the process of developing a formal policy.
According to the association’s website, their mission is, “to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments, and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the industry.” Voie says the annual index helps to advance that cause.
“We want to be a resource to the industry,” she said. “We want to be able to have the kind of data that the industry is looking for so that they can look at benchmarking as best practices and say, ‘Well, if the industry standard is 13% and you only have 5% or 6% female drivers’ – how can you change that?”
To view all of the data from the 2022 WIT Index, you can download a copy here. LL