The trucking industry is male dominated but it certainly isn’t a man’s world. We’re not saying that the backward thinking, male dominant chauvinism doesn’t exist in the trucking industry because if you look, you will find it, just as you will find it in any industry. Females have been joining the trucking industry at a steady and growing rate in recent history.
47% of the labour force is now female, however, only 6% are drivers. The reason behind the low numbers is a constant debate and it really depends on who you’re talking to. A lot of this probably stems from trucking being viewed as an undesirable job, one that takes you away from home a lot. When you combine this with the days of old, where it was traditionally men who worked away and women who stayed home, you are bound to have few continued male dominant sectors.
The truth of the matter is, trucking is a viable career choice for women. With the trucking industry facing many challenges including labour shortages and capacity crunches (there’s simply more freight than available drivers), now is a good time to enter the industry.
Driving a Big Rig is a Job. A Career. A Profession.
When you are a professional truck driver, meaning you have the training and expertise to complete the job, combined with the mindset and drive for the lifestyle, it doesn’t matter if your male or female. The industry is heavily regulated, which means it’s standardized too. If you run 10,000 miles you will be paid the same amount as any counterparts within the company pay scale.
Pay equality is one thing the trucking industry has down pat. Newbie truckers can expect to start at 38 to 40 cents per mile seeing an increase in their pay as they gain more experience and years with a company. With the right company, Canadian drivers will start earning between $40,000 and $48,000 a year.
Driving is Not for Everyone
Regardless of whether you are male or female, trucking life isn’t for everyone. Success in this industry has a lot more to do with your personality traits than it does your ability to drive the truck.
Are you Reliable and Responsible? This is a fast-paced world where deadlines have to be met on schedule. Customers and companies have schedules to keep, the freight on your truck is only one small part of the supply chain and being delayed by an hour sets off a domino effect that affects everyone down the line. Not only that, you have to work alone for the most part and be accountable for your actions at all times.
Are you Patient and Flexible? These two traits come in very handy when dealing with the everyday stressors of the job. Combined with the absolute need to be reliable and get the job done on time is the constant surge of things that will try to prevent this from happening. A breakdown, traffic congestion, bad weather, last minute changes to delivery plans, the list goes on, but you get the picture. Some days everything and anything that can go wrong, will. You need to have the ability to stay relaxed and calm, no matter what hits you. Stressing out, getting agitated and flustered will lead to bad decision making which could lead to an accident.
Are You Independent and Bold? Unless you’re a team driver, driving a truck is a solo career. You must be self-dependent, able to handle your responsibilities and rely on your own decisions. You are alone for the most part and must rely on yourself. You must be able to problem solve solo because no one is there to hold your hand. You must also be able to stand up for yourself because, unfortunately, you will come across hairbrained, backward thinking, old school truckers who will give you a hard time. You must be able to handle long periods away – mainstream trucking careers are not a 9 to 5 job. They don’t operate on a Monday to Friday basis. And they will keep you out on the road for (depending on the company) 7 or more days at a time.
If you have these personality traits and you are interested in a career in trucking, it is worth pursuing further. Don’t let the misguided, unrealistic myths of women in trucking prevent you from starting a professional trucking career.