In an effort to better quantify the number of women working in the trucking industry, Women In Trucking Association, Inc. created the “WIT Index,” which measures the number of women drivers and management at organizations nationwide.
One of the most often asked questions is “how many women are in the trucking industry?”
As the only association formed to increase the percentage of women employed in trucking, we should know those numbers. Management guru Peter Drucker is credited with the statement “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”
In the past, we relied on U.S. Department of Labor data for this information. However, the Bureau of Labor statistics recently reported that the percentage of female drivers has actually dropped to 5.1 percent of the driver population.
We were contacted by numerous journalists and asked “Why are we losing these women?”
The answer is that we’re not losing anyone. These numbers are just not accurate. The DOL numbers report “driver/sales workers and truck drivers.” In this category, 5.1 percent are women.
However, the description of the job is to pick up, transport, and drop off packages and small shipments within a local region or urban area. That doesn’t sound like the job of a professional over-the-road driver.
The DOL shows the percentage of women employed as “Industrial truck and tractor operators” at 7.1 percent, but the “drivers” never leave the warehouse or storage yard. That doesn’t sound like the job of a professional over-the-road driver either.
Unfortunately, the industry has been looking at the government data for years, and during that time, women have never exceeded 6 percent of the driver population.
We don’t believe that this is an accurate depiction of the industry. In fact, we feel that women comprise a much higher percentage of the driver population. So, we decided to find out for ourselves.
We partnered with the National Transportation Institute to help us get accurate data. NTI’s COO Leah Shaver serves on the Women In Trucking Association board of directors. “We know that women represent a largely underdeveloped minority group in our industry,” said Shaver. “We also know, from recent conference discussions and media coverage, that benchmarking gender distribution in our industry is necessary to quantify progress. We’re going to help trucking companies do just that.”
The National Transportation Institute is the top research organization for driver compensation and benefits information. Currently, The NTI surveys hundreds of trucking firms for data regarding driver wages, benefits, retirement plans, and more on a quarterly basis. The confidential information is aggregated and then provided to carriers for benchmarking and forecasting.
This past year, NTI added two questions to their list of research responses. They asked for the percentage of women employed as truck drivers, as well as the percentage of women in leadership roles within the company. Over the course of three quarters, NTI found the average percentage of female drivers at these carriers to be 7 percent. They also found that women comprise 24 percent of management at the carriers surveyed. This contrasts with the 18.1 percent reported by the DOL for “supervisors of transportation and material moving workers.”
Prime, Inc. seems to be the industry leader for over-the-road tractor-trailer drivers with females comprising 12 percent of their driver population. What are they doing to attract and retain these women?
Beginning with a “female driver liaison” to honouring these women at their “Diamonds of the Highway” annual event, they are making an effort to increase the number of female drivers. It seems to be working!
Early submissions to the WIT Index show the growth of women in our industry and we are eager to add more. Carriers have come so far and invested money, time, training, and more to increase employment of women in the trucking industry. The National Transportation Institute and Women In Trucking together would like all carriers to participate by sharing your company’s percentage of female drivers and management in order for us to continue developing the WIT Index.
We will be highlighting best practices of the companies that excel in attracting and retaining women as both drivers and leaders.
We want to hear from you. Please contact The National Transportation Institute by visiting https://driverwages.com/contact-us/, enter your company name and contact information in case we have follow up questions, and in your message, please provide the percentage of women employed as truck drivers, as well as the percentage of women in leadership roles within the company.