There's more awareness and demand for gender diversity in the workplace, the trucking industry included. Many believe working towards a gender balance is a requirement for any industry to flourish.
We have heard how women are changing the workplace time and time again. But there's very little said about female drivers in the trucking industry. The lack of knowledge about female employees among trucking associations is probably a reflection of the imbalance in the hiring of women in the industry. After all, only 60% of trucking firms hire women, with only 67 companies currently employing them. There's another telling number: women only account for 6.6% of the entire U.S. trucking force, according to the annual American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) report entitled "Critical Issues in the Trucking Industry 2019."
The disproportionate number of women versus men who are trucking employees is puzzling. There are plenty of reasons to hire women, after all. These would include their ability to stay with a company for quite some time, decrease dwell time, avoid preventable accidents, and so much more.
Here's a list of how female-friendly trucking companies benefit by hiring female drivers.
Avoid Preventable Accidents
Data from ATRI crash predictor analysis revealed that female drivers outperformed men in every statistically significant driver evaluation. It added that male drivers were involved in 20 percent more crashes than their female counterparts.
A similar study echoes the above findings. One company research revealed that during a three-month investigation, female truckers only had 0.1 accidents per 100 drivers. On the other hand, male drivers had 0.2 accidents per 100 drivers, or twice the ratio of women. The same study showed that women often had fewer rear-end collisions and rollovers. These numbers clearly indicate that women are reliable and safe drivers.
The turnover rates of drivers is a major concern in the industry. Companies who want to address this issue within their organization should consider hiring female drivers since, according to one firm's study, male drivers had a higher turnover rate at 69%. In contrast, female drivers only had a turnover rate of 65%.
Increase Logged Miles
Some company executives or hiring managers tend to doubt whether women are capable of driving long miles. They would be surprised to know those female truckers consistently drive more miles than their male counterparts. A study showed that female drivers averaged 52,682 miles annually, higher than the male drivers' average of 50,344 miles.
Reduce Dwell Time
Female drivers log longer hours, so it's no surprise that they have reduced dwell time, too. "Dwell time" refers to the time a truck spends at a scheduled stop without moving.
One study revealed that during a nine-month span, female drivers only averaged 60 hours of dwell time, significantly less than the 80 hours logged by men.
This is quite important: dwell time affects a company's earnings because it longer dwell time will delay deliveries, waste fuel, and compromise driver safety. One report from the U.S. Department of Transportation showed trucking companies lose more than $1.3 billion yearly due directly to prolonged dwell times.
It's Time for More Female-Friendly Trucking Companies
It's about time trucking companies balance the scale of their workforce by adding more women, given the excellence and work ethic they bring to the table. Some company executives incorrectly believe that the safety of their fleets could be compromised by having women behind the wheels, but the data proves otherwise.
The driver shortage has increasingly been a top industry concern for the last five years, according to ATRI. 22.3 percent of survey respondents of the Critical Issues in the Trucking Industry 2019 said that hiring more women and minorities is critical to address the challenge of a driver shortage. There's no better time than now for trucking companies to re-examine their hiring practices, and truly push for more equality for female truck drivers.