The haulage industry is booming, which is wonderful news! However, although jobs are plentiful, the industry’s reputation as a predominantly male institution continues to make it less attractive to women. Haulage jobs can also often involve long and unsociable hours, requiring time spent away from home, providing another reason young people and women may not be drawn to a career driving trucks. |
If the younger generation and a more female-focused workforce are to be recruited into the industry, these issues need to be addressed.
Barriers and Incentives
For the younger generation, it might not only be the tough lifestyle that deters them from considering a trucking career. To qualify as a truck driver and be able to take on lucrative haulage jobs it’s necessary to get a CDL, which is a licence that can cost up to thousands of pounds. Some companies may pay for training but, even then, the time investment required to attain the licence is also quite significant.
Age restrictions can also be a barrier to younger people joining the industry. The minimum age of 21 means that we lose those young people between the ages of 18 and 21, many of whom are deciding on their big career choice at that very time. There have been moves made to try to incorporate a licensing programme, so that 18 year olds can begin training and have an incentive to continue even if they don’t fully qualify until they reach the age of 21.
Social media has done a lot for the profile of the haulage industry, but there is still a long way to go, and finding appropriate candidates for haulage jobs is still proving to be a difficult prospect in some cases. Companies have to pay huge amounts to advertise and often only get a small percentage of suitable drivers out of the number that apply.
It is little wonder that hauliers are finding it hard to fill positions when you consider the arduous training required, the male dominated reputation and the age issues. Company owners also have to pay good drivers far more in order to keep them, which affects their bottom line so they may hire fewer new people.
The Women in Trucking Association (WIT)
There is plenty of good news, though, and the president and CEO of WIT, Ellen Voie, is raising the profile of the industry in order to attract more women to take on haulage jobs. She is keen to get initiatives off the ground that will encourage more female truckers and points out that a truck is not what it used to be! They are now easy to drive, efficient and very manageable, thanks to the modern hydraulics, so there’s no reason women should be put off. In fact, there is nothing about this job that challenges women any more than it does men.
WIT is a growing association with an active presence on social media. Magazines, newsletters, a Facebook group and an annual conference have all helped to raise its profile. Work is also being done with manufacturers so that the ergonomics of trucks can be altered in order that women feel more physically comfortable behind the wheel. It’s exciting times for the girls!
Everyone in the haulage industry is very positive about the moves being made to attract the younger generation and bring more females into the fold. Time is of the essence as the industry grows, but hopefully, with the input from WIT, times will change sooner rather than later.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage jobs with available drivers, and is now the fastest growing Freight Exchange in the UK.
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