- A new report from American Trucking Associations (ATA) says that the number of female truck drivers decreased by 10% to 177,000 in 2015, as reported by Trucks.com.
- According to this report, women now account for 5.1% of all truck drivers. This is the lowest since 2011 and comes at the same as the overall amount of active drivers increased to 3.5 million.
- While the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that 46.8% of active laborers were women last year, they accounted for 11.4% of the overall trucking transportation field.
Some question these numbers because they include a broad category of drivers and, in the case of BLS, require drivers to mail in questionnaires which they may miss while on the road. Yet leading nonprofit organizations such as REAL Women in Trucking and Women in Trucking (WIT) said this imbalance is still very much a reality. WIT is currently surveying hundreds of trucking carriers to compile their own statistics as well.
A drop in freight demand may have played a role, but work culture seems to be the biggest factor. Many women have reported challenges even getting their resumes considered. A lack of female trainers — which some companies require due to liability — is also a factor along with fraught dispatcher relationships.
Recent research has found that negative work culture causes retention issues for all new drivers and recommended companies focus on improving in that area. As the waste industry looks for creative ways to recruit new drivers amid an ongoing shortage, it will be important to ensure that all qualified applicants feel welcome.