Why don’t more women work in trucking?

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Trucking HR Canada’s labor market information (LMI) shows that women remain a largely untapped labor pool for trucking and logistics.

While our sector has moved the needle forward in attracting more women, they are still underrepresented. In Canada, the general workforce is split evenly between men and women, but in trucking and logistics, women make up only 16% of the workforce and a mere 4% of drivers.

women in trucking
(Photo: iStock)

This year we published industry-leading research on women’s experiences of the trucking and logistics industry and produced tools for employers based on those insights.

Through two surveys and an online focus group, we heard from employers, women with experience in the industry and women career-seekers, many with no experience in the industry.

The results surprised us: the things employers think are barriers are not what women say are keeping them away.

So, what are career-minded women looking for? The top three results in our research are:

  • competitive pay,
  • job security,
  • challenging work.

Our industry has all that and more; 89% of women who work in trucking and logistics say they would recommend it to other women, and when asked what they liked about their jobs in trucking, many cited the very qualities career-seeking women are looking for.  

Nearly all the women in our focus group said their job in trucking met or exceeded the expectations they had going in to the industry.

But barriers remain and must be addressed to continue our positive momentum.

What employers say, what women think

Employers that we surveyed say they think women lack the aptitude or interest in working in the industry. But women say safety concerns are the greatest barrier. That said, THRC has data that shows harassment in our sector is no higher than other sectors – a key point that can help address a key perceptual barrier for career-seeking women.

When we narrowed the focus to women respondents, the gaps became even more clear:

Women outside the industry say fear of harassment and violence is keeping them away,

Women inside the industry are more likely to cite microaggressions and lack of mentorship as issues.

Safety and the perception of a “boy’s culture” can make even the most successful women feel unwelcome.

Addressing these blind spots will help attract and retain women workers – workers employers will need in the coming months and years. Our latest LMI indicates that without support for employers to attract and retain more workers, vacancies will exceed 40,400 by 2030.

What employers can do next

There are clear, meaningful actions employers can take to help women feel welcome and safe:

  • Share strategies to improve on-the-job safety and reduce harassment and discrimination.
  • Create opportunities for women to advance.
  • Find opportunities to make the industry more appealing when compared to other industries.
  • Increase awareness about the wide variety of job opportunities.
  • Improve work-life balance to support employees with family responsibilities.

THRC can help

We have new tools that can help employers assess blind spots and address cultural and systemic barriers.  

You can join us for our free webinar on this topic taking place June 12 that can help you attract and retain more women in your workforce.

And you can download the research highlights and employer tools to attract, recruit, and retain women here.

Interested in finding out more about THRC, our insights and offerings? Join our newsletter: here.

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Craig Faucette is the director of policy and programs at Trucking HR Canada, a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to addressing the human resources challenges and opportunities in the trucking and logistics sector. He has spent his career in the charitable and non-profit world where he has developed expertise in non-profit management, program development and management, and business development. Craig oversees key projects and programs ensuring project objectives and milestones are met on time, and on budget. Feel free to learn more at truckinghr.com, subscribe to our newsletter and follow us @TruckingHR for the latest tips, practical resources and more. And we can be reached by e-mail: info@truckinghr.com.

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  • I would not want my wife or daughter if I had one to work over the road. Some of the better local in-house drivers milk Co ops that pay at fair hourly wage and overtime with same locations to pickup and deliver at and home maybe 5 nights or days if working night shift. I have beaten up when parked in a bad area had trouble to find a bathroom. I can only think of a few companies like Gaylea and home hardware that are a good choice for women. I would strongly recommend a different line of work until truck drivers are better treated.

  • My issue regarding this matter is the insurance companies. I have had two women ready and able to drive my trucks but the insurance company has refused to let me hire them due to lack of experience. This has become a huge issue for my company and I assume others. How are these women supposed to get the experience if I can’t hire them?