Percentage of women drivers declines in 2023, according to WIT

June 26, 2023

Ryan Witkowski


New data show the number of women behind the wheel of commercial vehicles declined in 2023.

On June 26, the Women in Trucking Association published results from its annual Women in Trucking Index report. The Plover, Wis.-based association says 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.”

Over a four-month span – from January through April 2023 – 350 responses were recorded from organizations of all sizes in the transportation industry. Respondents were asked to report data including demographics, status of the company’s diversity and inclusion policy, and percentages of females in various roles within the company.

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

According to data from the 2023 WIT Index, women make up 12.1% of over-the-road drivers, down from 13.7% in 2022. As for an explanation for the decline, WIT offers several possibilities.

“This small decrease in female drivers has been explained by some industry observers to be due to a variety of factors, including a lack of quality childcare, an increased interest in homeschooling children, safety concerns for female drivers, misperceptions of career opportunities for female drivers, and an aging driver population that now is retiring,” according to a WIT Index report.

Despite the dip in 2023, the number of women drivers in the industry has shown steady growth over the past five years. The annual index has consistently reported double-digit results in terms of the percentage of women drivers since 2019, when that number reached nearly 10%. According to WIT, there are a number of reasons why women make “quality, reliable, efficient and safe” professional truck drivers, suggesting they may even have a benefit over their male counterparts.

“First, they’re typically less likely to take risks and therefore can be safer drivers than men,” the WIT Index report read. “In addition, women generally possess strong multitasking and organization skills, they are strong communicators, and they usually are patient, focused and reliable.”

Another small, but notable, decrease came in the area of leadership. For 2023, the index reports that 36.9% of company leader roles were filled by women. That number was 39.6% in 2022.  

While there may have been a slight decline in those areas, there is one area of notable growth in 2023. According to the index, 56.4% of respondents confirmed their organizations have a formal diversity and inclusion policy in place, up from 45.5% in 2022.

Last year, around 31% of companies reported having no policy in place – and did not have plans to adopt one. That number shrunk to 19.3% in 2023. An additional 19.3% of companies responding to this year’s survey say they are in the process of developing a formal policy regarding diversity and inclusion.

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.” The group reports having around “8,000 members in 10-plus countries.”

To view all of the data from the 2023 WIT Index report, download a copy here. LL