The trucking industry has long been known as a man’s world. Women truckers make up only 5% to 6% of the US trucking population, but most trucking companies know that in order to retain the level of drivers they need for the future, they need to be actively recruiting more women.
If you’re looking to attract and retain more women drivers, first you need to take a good look at how your company operates, and make a few changes.
It won’t do any good to sell the “freedom of the open road” story to women, without also mention some of the harsh realities that freedom brings with it. Navigating a massive truck through congestion isn’t easy, no matter who you are. Most truckers don’t get to shower every day. And trucking is largely unsupervised, which comes with inherent personal safety risks. Sleeping in your cab at a rest stop may be fine for male drivers, but many women may feel uncomfortable doing so, and for good reason.
If you’re not up front about these realities, you may succeed in your recruiting efforts, but your turnover will be extremely high.
Provide Training and Support
Training sessions for new women drivers should not simply mirror those given to your male drivers. Instead, provide gender-specific training that deals specifically with the challenges and dangers women may experience on the job that male drivers likely will not.
In addition, new women drivers will be more likely to succeed if they have the support of other, more experienced women drivers. If you don’t have a lot of seasoned women drivers on your team, consider partnering with other companies in your area to provide this necessary support system.
When you hire women drivers, you need to understand that they may have more responsibilities at home than their male counterparts. This is particularly true for single women with families, who may lack a support system. Your company needs to be flexible and consider the home/work balance in order to retain women drivers.
Make Protection Your Highest Priority
Unfortunately, the risks for your women drivers don’t just come from external factors. Sexual harassment, discrimination, and even assaults are not uncommon within trucking companies. Before you recruit a single new women driver, you need to put a strict sexual harassment policy in place and hold everyone on your team accountable for enforcing it. That means being prepared to take action against your male employees, which may include firing or even reporting them to the authorities. Failing to do so you will foster an unsafe environment that no woman should have to work in.
Women drivers have a great deal to offer this industry, but as owners we still have a lot of work to do in order to make it an attractive place for them to work. For more information on how to recruit women drivers, contact the experts at Contracted Driver Services today.