If you're a woman looking to get into the trucking industry, there are plenty of reasons to do so. While it's true that women make up only a small percentage of the driver population in America, they are making considerable strides in this industry.
In fact, more women are going into traditionally male-dominated fields. I know what this is like since I’ve been a female financial advisor for the last few decades. There is Real Value in Working with a Female Financial Advisor for this very reason. Women understander other professional women more so than a male financial advisors.
During the extreme supply chain challenges of the global pandemic, the world learned firsthand what many industry experts had been saying for years – the trucking industry is in need. Experienced drivers are aging out, and there is not a large population of fresh drivers entering the scene.
To meet this demand, shipping companies are turning to more minorities, including the power of female-led teams and independent truck drivers.
I’ll go over some of the facts and figures as well as essential tips for having a rewarding experience as a female truck driver on the road.
No matter what you decide, remember our team at Meyers Financial is here to help you with eh accounting needed for growing your freight delivery service or owning your own truck.
Let’s get started!
Women in Trucking Leadership
Since 2010, the Department of Labor has shown a sharp increase in female truck drivers or women performing critical roles in the shipping and transportation industry. There has been an 88% increase in women building a new life on the open road.
What does it mean to be the leader of a major trucking company? If you’re a woman, that answer is becoming increasingly complex as women take on leadership roles in freight transportation. In fact, there are several female CEOs in the industry today—and they’re making waves.
Women have made their presence known in trucking leadership positions by advocating for equal pay (among other things), creating opportunities for other women to break through the glass ceiling, and changing how we think about what it means to lead an industry.
Women in the Driver’s Seat
As women become more involved in the trucking industry, they are also becoming more likely to participate in other related sectors, such as logistics and supply chain management. In fact, many women have taken on roles like supply chain managers or transportation specialists during their careers.
This is because women are more likely to be involved in the logistics sector overall—which includes freight transportation managed by an organization or company that coordinates activities between different parties within a supply chain—than men.
These roles complement the natural ability of women over men to multitask and problem-solve. On average, these are more potent with women who can apply their abilities in managing complex households to the professional trucking world. What some men would view as a weakness is, in fact, a powerful tool providing women with a pathway toward a brighter future.
Why Get into Trucking
You're probably asking yourself: Why get into trucking? There are several reasons. You get far more flexibility than being stuck in an office job and a pay scale that is only growing due to increased demand for experienced drivers. The benefits of women in truck driving include:
1 - Pay
Like many industries, trucking offers a wide range of pay possibilities. The average salary is between $60K and $125K, depending on the type of freight you’re hauling and the size or length of the route.
It’s important to note that these figures are for all drivers in all states across the country. There are also many opportunities for female drivers who want to find higher-paying jobs as well as good benefits packages in certain areas (such as California). There are even opportunities for veterans looking for work after being discharged from service.
2 - Freedom
As a truck driver, you have the freedom to go where you want when you want. You are in control of your destiny and can travel to new places and meet new people. You can spend time with family and friends or travel across the country for an adventure.
3 - Job Security
Trucking is an exciting industry to work in because it’s a stable and growing sector. This industry is so sturdy because it doesn’t rely on any single type of business or consumer spending—trucking services can be used by anyone and everyone who needs something moved around our country.
With zero concern about whether you’ll have a job tomorrow or not, working as a driver allows you to plan ahead and invest in your future without worrying about whether or not you will be able to afford retirement later down the road.
4 - Low Entry Point
Entry levels are low, and there are many ways to get started in the trucking industry. You don't need a college degree, and there are several ways to get your foot in the door. A Class A license is typically what drivers start with and allows you to drive tractor-trailers over 26,000 pounds.
All you need is training, a high school diploma (or GED), a reasonably clean driving record, and the ability to pass a physical.
Tips for Life on the Road
Life on the road as a woman can be lonely if you are unprepared. However, using a few tips ensures you stay safe and get more out of this lucrative career. Some ideas for building out your women in trucking career include:
1 - Stay Healthy
Trucking is sedentary, so you must be aware of your posture and take breaks. The driver's seat is your office, so ensure it's comfortable and ergonomic. If you're sitting for long periods, consider investing in a good chair that supports your back correctly, as well as lumbar support cushions or pillows.
Be sure to exercise, stretch, and meditate to keep your body in shape. Don’t shy away from cooking in your cab and watching your caloric intake. You want to maintain your healthy body shape with the macronutrients to stay energized and alert while driving.
2 - Customize Your Cab
Before you start driving, make sure your cab is comfortable and safe. Be creative with it but remember that you’ll need to maintain this space while on the road, so it doesn’t get too messy or dirty. Create a space that makes you feel at home and relaxed – something you can claim as your own.
3 - Meet New People
You will meet all kinds of different people while driving across the country. You may find that some of these new friends are just like you—from where they live, how they think about things, and their interests.
More likely, you will enrich your personal experience by interacting with people from all walks and philosophies. These stories will fill you with incredible life experiences you can tell your grandkids when it is finally time to turn in your keys.
4 - Always Lock Your Doors
As a female truck driver, you will be exposed to experiences with open cabins and unlocked doors at rest areas or truck stops. Some of these encounters will be harmless, but some will not!
While you should always try to appear confident and strong in these situations, sometimes it's nice to know other options available for protection if necessary.
Although most drivers already lock their doors when driving their trucks, I encourage all women who work in this industry (or any industry) to take extra precautions when traveling alone by making sure all doors are locked whenever possible and maybe carrying around a defensive tool that is 100% legal.
5 - Get a Dashcam
A dash cam is a video camera mounted on your truck's dashboard, typically for the purpose of recording driving footage. It can be used to record your driving experience and can be used as evidence in the event of an accident.
Insurance companies and the authorities appreciate these devices because they clear up any crazy drivers that may slow down your day.
6 - Join an Association
A professional association can be a great way to meet other women in trucking and learn from them. Getting involved in one helps to make connections, share your own experiences with others, and support women in the industry. Professional associations are also a great place to find mentors who can guide you through any problems or questions during your career.
7 - Stay in Well-Lit Areas
When it comes to staying safe and keeping your heart rate down, you want to avoid darkness. This makes us more vulnerable to attacks from predators. Park in rest stops with good lighting and be sure to cover up your windows if you are sleeping, so potential thieves do not know if there is a man, woman, or anything else inside. Anonymity is your friend!
8 - Stock Up on Audiobooks/Podcasts
You don't have to listen to music whenever you get in your truck. Many drivers have turned to audiobooks and podcasts as alternative sources of entertainment.
Audiobooks are a great way for female truck drivers to learn new things, especially if they're into self-improvement or education. Podcasts can also be very informative. There are many podcasts about current events and politics, which means listening through those can keep you up to date on what's happening around the world.
9 - Get a Wide Range CB Radio
CB radios are essential for communication. The range of CB radios is measured in miles. You can communicate with other drivers, and you can also use it for safety purposes. If you have a CB radio and are traveling through areas where there's no cell service, it can be an essential tool.
How to Get Started
Now that you know what to expect and what the trucking industry looks like, it’s time to get your CDL and hit the road. There are many ways to get started in trucking, but we recommend beginning with a company that will support your growth throughout the process.
You want a company that will provide training, opportunities for advancement, and good pay while also giving back to communities where they operate.
Your next step is to find a carrier that values your skills, is supportive of your career growth, and will invest in you. You also want a carrier that offers opportunities for training and continuing education so that you can grow professionally.
Step one is to look at the requirements for your state to be a truck driver and then work through that process as you look for a job opportunity.
Let’s Get Women Driving!
Women in trucking are an essential issue in the supply chain industry, and we’ve seen a lot of progress. There are more women driving trucks than ever before, but there is still more work to do as far as diversity goes.
When looking for ways to impact your workforce, it’s important to look at what your competitors are doing and see how you can do better.
One of the critical methods to improving your abilities as a woman in trucking is having the financial support needed for decision-making. That starts with quality accounting services and financial planning from our team at Meyers Financial. We work with women from all industries to secure a clear pathway to greater economic security and growth potential. Let’s schedule a time to meet to help ensure your future as a woman in trucking.
Lillian Meyers CFP®, CDFA®, EA is a Financial Planner for Women in Sonoma, California helping clients live their best life through the use of financial planning, investment management, and other sophisticated financial options.