Examples of women truck drivers

Retention of women drivers is influenced by several key factors identified in the study. Addressing these factors can significantly improve job satisfaction and reduce turnover rates among women truck drivers.

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One of the tenets of the Women In Trucking Association (WIT) mission is to remove barriers for women in the industry. Recently, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) released new research identifying approaches to increase the number of women truck drivers entering and staying in the industry. WIT encouraged many female professional drivers within its community to participate.

The research identified six key challenge areas facing women truck drivers and laid out an action plan for the industry. The plan includes specific steps for motor carriers, training schools, and truck drivers to make trucking careers more attractive to women.

This research was recognized by ATRI’s Research Advisory Committee in March 2023 as a top priority to better understand the challenges women drivers face and develop specific strategies that the industry can implement to increase the relatively low number of women in trucking.

Top Challenges Facing Women Professional Truck Drivers

Among the challenges identified in ATRI’s research were:

  • Negative Industry Image and Perception: Women face significant stereotypes and negative perceptions that deter them from entering the trucking industry.
  • Unable to Complete Truck Driver Training: Financial constraints, lack of driving skills, and limited access to childcare and training locations pose significant barriers.
  • Unsatisfactory Motor Carrier Company Culture: Lack of clear communication, recognition, and appreciation from motor carriers impacts retention.
  • Inability to Acclimate to the OTR Driver Lifestyle: Many women need help with the lifestyle demands of over-the-road (OTR) driving, including insufficient home time and difficulties establishing healthy habits.
  • Limited Parking and Restroom Facility Access: Women drivers frequently face challenges finding safe parking and clean restroom facilities, which are critical for their safety and well-being.
  • Excessive Gender Harassment and Discrimination: Women experience higher levels of harassment and discrimination compared to their male counterparts, affecting their job satisfaction and retention.

Digging into the ATRI Research on Women in Trucking

ATRI conducted research that involved input from thousands of truck drivers, motor carriers, and truck driver training schools. The study utilized surveys, interviews, and a focus group for women drivers to identify the challenges faced by women drivers in the trucking industry and develop strategies for overcoming them.

Although trucking offers stable incomes, solid benefits, and job variety, the low participation rate of women in the industry underscores the existence of key issues and barriers.

ATRI Study Recruitment Findings

The study highlights various factors influencing the recruitment of women truck drivers:

  • How Women Enter the Industry: Nearly 51% of women entered trucking through a family member.
  • Motivators: Women are attracted to trucking due to competitive and equal pay, independence, and day-to-day variability.
  • Pay Parity: Equal pay between men and women drivers is a strong motivator and is acknowledged by motor carriers as essential for recruitment and retention.
  • Training and Employment Options: Many training schools and motor carriers are available, but finding the right fit is crucial for a positive experience.

ATRI Study Retention Findings

Retention of women drivers is influenced by several key factors identified in the study. Addressing these factors can significantly improve job satisfaction and reduce turnover rates among women truck drivers.

  • Women-Specific Initiatives: Carriers with initiatives focused on women drivers see higher retention rates. These initiatives include featuring women in marketing materials, mentorship programs, and involvement in women's groups.
  • Company Culture: Open and transparent communications and driver recognition are top priorities for improving company culture.
  • Healthy Habits: Low access to exercise facilities and the need to prepare meals in advance are significant challenges for women drivers.
  • Safe Parking and Restrooms: Finding safe parking and clean restrooms daily is a major issue, with 41% of women drivers struggling with parking and 39% with restrooms.
  • Harassment and Discrimination: Approximately 17% of women experience daily harassment or discrimination, double the rate for men.

A full copy of the report is available through ATRI’s website here.

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