RECRUITING MORE WOMEN TO YOUR FLEET
Close your eyes and try to picture a “typical” truck driver. Did you envision a man? If so, there’s a reason for that. At present, women make up nearly half of the American workforce, but less than 8% of truck drivers.
Efforts to improve these figures are picking up steam. Prompted by an historic driver shortage, legislators took action this year to make trucking more accessible to women. The Promoting Women in Trucking Act was reintroduced in the spring. If passed, the bill will establish a Women of Trucking Advisory Board to analyze barriers to women entering the industry and coordinate formal education and mentorship opportunities.
Another bill on the table is the Promoting Service in Transportation Act. This one would authorize the Department of Transportation to promote job opportunities in transportation via broadcast and digital media, with the goal of improving diversity.
We at The National Transportation Institute are pretty jazzed about these developments. It’s exciting to see that our elected officials care about fixing the driver shortage, and that they want to recruit more women to do it. But companies don’t have to wait to start recruiting more women to their fleet. There’s a lot that they can do now, while we wait for legislation to make its way through Congress.
Case in point: The 2021 Women in Trucking Association held its annual Accelerate Conference at the beginning of November, and a key presenter was none other than The National Transportation Institute President and CEO Leah Shaver. As a featured speaker Leah provided several insights for teams looking to add and retain women at their company.
Hopefully, you got to attend the conference in person, but if not, we’ve got your back. Here are a few suggestions to recruit and retain the fairer sex:
- Increase opportunities and remove obstacles for women – Equal access here is key. It’s easy to look at trucking as a one-size-fits-all career, but accounting for gender differences can have a major impact on your recruitment efforts. Are there any needs that women have at your company that aren’t being addressed? Some things to consider are ensuring access to bathrooms, providing company clothing in women’s sizes, outfitting equipment with technology to make the job less physically demanding, and even providing courses on safety and self-defense.
- Promote what you admire and attract what you reflect – Do us a favor and use images of your own female employees in recruiting advertisements. Stock images of models standing next to a pink cab won’t resonate with your prospects. Genuinely celebrating the accomplishments of real employees, on the other hand? That will go a long way in recruiting and retaining employees.
- Ramp up support and mentorship opportunities – Ask just about any female driver, community support is imperative. Women want opportunities to connect with and mentor each other. This can come in the form of same gender training options or even visibly promoting female drivers at your company. No matter how you dial up the teaching opportunities, it can help draw female recruits in.