Are Women and Military Vets the Answer to the Driver Shortage?
Everyone depends on trucks, in one way or another. Whether a parent, student, business owner, medical professional, or retiree, trucks deliver life’s essentials across the country, and around the world. But while everyone benefits from the work of truck drivers, not everyone is called to be one. And with a shortage of qualified drivers in the field—driver turnover was estimated at 92% in the first quarter of 2014—trucking companies are reaching out to new sectors of the population to fill the growing demand.
The current profile of the average driver is male (approximately 92% of the work force), aged 48, who are generally satisfied with their work, and whose main concerns include being well paid and spending time at home. With high turnover rates in this demographic and an aging population, a trend to appeal to military veterans and female drivers is gaining momentum.
As a whole, the industry is turning to recruiters, and educational facilities to find the next generation. Programs are also being developed geared specifically to appeal to and train women and vets. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration last year announced almost $1 million to train veterans, for jobs in transportation industry, offering grants to enable colleges to increase enrollment in commercial motor vehicle training programs and provide job placement assistance for veterans and their spouses.
Women account for approximately 8% of professional truck drivers, but, by reimagining the “norm,” could offer a solution to the driver shortage. To this end, Volvo Trucks has partnered with the organization Women in Trucking not only to find new ways of recruiting female drivers, but to promote more female-friendly trucks. Ellen Voie, president of Women in Trucking, estimates the shortage would be resolved if the number of professional women on the road increased to 10%.
The percentage of women driving for Calhoun Truck Lines falls just short of the national average (8%) but we have a goal of surpassing that number by the end of this year. More information can be found at www.calhountrucklines.com.