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Women in Trucking: Opportunities and Outlook

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The trucking industry continues to see an influx of women eager join. According to the Women In Trucking Association’s (WIT) annual index, women in trucking now account for 13.7% of professional drivers, an increase of more than 3% from 2019.

This historically male-dominated industry is appealing to women due to its flexibility, travel opportunities, and financial earning potential. And while women in trucking aren’t without challenges, more women are feeling empowered by their ability support themselves, and their families, by hitting the road.

Why women are joining trucking

As the trucking industry has been struggling to recruit and retain credible and reliable drivers, women are seizing this opportunity to join the field. Today, more women are successfully obtaining their commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) than ever before.

Women are signing up to drive because it offers them a chance to:

  • Enter a new profession quickly
  • Earn a good wage
  • Be their own boss
  • Have more job security
  • See the country

Trucking companies have taken noticed to the shift and are working to increase their recruitment efforts to get more women in the driver’s seat. Adding diversity equates to adding different perspectives and innovative thinking to an industry facing a dire talent shortage.

Employers are increasingly searching for women to fill persistent driver vacancies because women: 

  • Are 25% less likely to be involved in a crash
  • Easier to train than their male counterparts
  • More likely to stay in the same job longer
  • Are more risk-averse when driving

Women also add a valuable new perspective to the trucking industry. This includes professional drivers who are safety managers and those in leadership roles at trucking companies.

Both sides are seeing major benefits of working together, increasing the demand to change the future of trucking.

Opportunities for women in trucking

The trucking industry offers opportunities not available in many other industries, that are particularly appealing to women.

Here are compelling reasons women want to be truck drivers.  

Competitive pay

As of October 2022, a commercial truck driver’s salary ranged from $50,000 to $65,000, with a median salary of $56,940.

Many open positions on websites like Indeed.com start at the higher end of that scale and include sign-on bonuses in the thousands of dollars. Truck driving also narrows the pay gap for women since drivers are paid based on the number of miles driven. The addition of full health benefits, including dental and vision and access to retirement, vacation, and flexible hours only sweetens the deal.

Great training and support

Many trucking companies offer comprehensive training programs, including CDL and over-the-road (OTR) training, for new drivers that typically last four to eight weeks.

These programs help new drivers cover training expenses while equipping them with hands-on knowledge to start a successful truck driving career. Many companies also have support staff available 24/7 to answer questions, offer advice, and help with job-related problems.

Independence and flexibility

Trucking offers a unique level of independence and flexibility compared to other professions. 

Owner-operators have control of their schedule, including when to take time off. They can also choose the jobs and clients that are a good fit.

Most trucking companies also offer flexible schedules for their employees.

Opportunities to travel

Trucking offers a variety of options when it comes to travel. Many trucking companies offer positions that allow drivers to travel domestically and internationally. While others have regional or local routes. There are options to accommodate women’s travel preferences or family needs.

Professional trucking associations for women

Truck driving isn’t just a profession for women, it’s a community. There are many resources are available to women who want to pursue a career in trucking, including professional organizations or programs that provide support, training, and mentorship.

  • Women in Trucking Association(WIT): The primary mission of the WIT is supporting women in the trucking industry and encouraging their employment. The organization provides mentoring, education, and training opportunities. Member benefits include networking events and discounts. 
  • Women in Trucking Foundation (WITF): Supported by the WIT, the WITF offers scholarships to help female truckers advance their careers in several areas, including safety, driving, technical skills, and leadership. Each scholarship recipient gets $1,000 for training plus a free one-year membership to the WIT. 
  • Women in Motion (WIM): WIM is an ATA initiative launched in July 2022. The program provides resources that help trucking companies create a more supportive and inclusive work environment for women. WIM also offers professional development for women in the trucking industry.
  • Real Women in Trucking (RWIT): The mission of Real Women in Trucking is to improve highway safety through advocacy, education, leadership, and mentorship. RWIT consists of veteran truck drivers committed to supporting women by advocating for improved working conditions, truth in recruiting, and sexual assault and sexual harassment (SASH) prevention.

Why the future looks bright for women in trucking

The trucking industry is an essential part of the economy, and women are increasingly playing a role in its success. While the percentage of female truck drivers is still relatively small, there’s a tremendous opportunity for growth. There are many great reasons for women to embark on a career in trucking, including excellent pay and benefits, as well as flexible job options. There are also many organizations and programs that provide support. With the right resources and the commitment of trucking companies to create a more inclusive and supportive workplace, women can continue to make their mark in the trucking industry.

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