Trucking always has been a male-dominated field. But with the driver shortage in the United States, it’s time to start recruiting women truck drivers, if you haven’t already.
Why turn to women when they historically haven’t been attracted to driving? The opportunity lies in recruiting drivers from “non-traditional” populations as the sources of existing drivers run dry. You'll have less competition in those spaces and a chance to change perceptions.
The chief challenges you face include showing women that this industry welcomes them and that they are capable of doing the job. It may seem like a hard task, but if promoted the right way, a recruiting campaign can be truly successful.
Keep in mind that all applicants are unique, and when the time comes to sit down and hire, everyone should have a fair chance to explain what they need as an individual. These five tips are general tactics that will help get the attention of those reliable, hard-working, and savvy women truck drivers you’ve been waiting for. Get busy with these tactics, and you're sure to overcome the challenges of recruiting women truck drivers.
1.) Advertise to Women with Women
Women tend to be very visual (think about how female-dominated Pinterest is!). A highly effective way of getting a woman’s attention is promoting a real-life situation she can relate to. When you're recruiting for women truck drivers, display women truck drivers behind the wheel. Have the ladies already on your fleet talk about what it's like to work for your company in a YouTube video. It's no secret that people identify with others who look like them — so leverage this in your campaign.
2.) Recruit the Next Generation Today
Today's girls — the kids who aren't even old enough to drive a Prius, let alone a Peterbilt — will turn into tomorrow's truck drivers. Driving a truck is a profitable, freedom-filled career. That idea needs to be planted well before they get serious about choosing a job. Otherwise, trucking won't be on the table when the time comes to pick a career. You may not see the immediate payoff that you're hoping for with this strategy, but as an industry, appealing to students and younger generations is critical to keeping the driver pipeline full.
3.) Form a Circle of Support
Because there are so few women in trucking, female newcomers may need additional support. Help the women in your fleet form a Women in Trucking support group. Make it a place where they can discuss frustrations, get advice from vet drivers, and build relationships within your company. This will build a sense of community for them that will aid in retention and build your brand as an employer.
4.) Tailor Your Message and Offer "Extras" Aimed at Engaging Women
Share educational content about the transportation industry and how women can build a career in it. Some women may feel they lack the training and experience for trucking, so it's up to you to break down what it takes to succeed and to share how to get a foot in the door of the transportation industry.
Female friendly "perks," like blogs to read on the road, self-defense lessons, or wellness guides can be another resource for recruiting and retaining women drivers. Give them access to helpful and supportive information and tools for taking care of themselves away from home base.
5.) Help Keep Family Life and Work Life in Harmony
For women who have family, ensure your support for a work-life balance. This obviously won’t be easy; players in the transportation industry often have to be away from home for long periods. Consider offering a local fleet rotation where several drivers can trade off on taking those lengthy trips. Allow them to take the truck home if possible. If you are committed to recruiting women, finding that sweet spot between family time and road time must become a priority.
How have you encouraged women truck drivers to join your organization? We'd love to hear any and all tips you you're willing to share. Please sound off in comments!