As driver demand increases and national progress regarding equal pay form a perfect storm for women to secure opportunities in the freight-hauling industry.
“From drivers to technicians and carriers to dealerships, women play an integral role in the trucking industry. But we believe they can play an even greater role in meeting the current demand for more drivers,” Ellen Voie, president of Women in Trucking, reportedly said.
Everyday people can attest that the country suffers a shortage of qualified CDL holders because inflation is partly being driven by an inability to meet consumer demands. Approximately 70 percent of all goods and products arrive by truck and the country suffers a gap of more than 61,000. That figure is expected to balloon to 160,000 over the next seven years unless good salaries and working conditions attract a more diverse workforce.
As it stands, the ranks of women truck drivers rose to 6.6 percent in 2018, a 2-percent increase since 2010. That seemingly low percentage doesn’t do justice to the fact nearly a quarter-million women have earned their CDL, and female driver numbers reportedly rose to 7.89 percent in 2019. What newly-minted truckers are quickly discovering is that freight hauling outfits do not discriminate along gender lines when it comes to getting paid.
“As a truck driver, you make the same amount of money as your male peers, because you either get paid by the mile or the load of the percentage,” Voie reportedly said. “So, gender is not an issue in pay in the truck industry for drivers.”
The median pay scale for qualified truckers rose to $47,130 annually in 2020 and $22.66 per hour. That figure does not necessarily account for the explosion in employers offering lucrative bonuses and incentives as they compete for drivers. Big-box retailers have garnered splashy headlines as they dole out six-figure salaries to veteran truck drivers. Those willing to take on challenges such as ice road trucking can pull down upwards of $75,000 for a few month’s work and hazardous materials drivers typically enjoy premiums.
“There are many different types of driver pay in the industry, including by the mile, per load, hourly, and even salary in some cases. In all cases, there is no distinction between male or female,” American Trucking Associations economist Bob Costello reportedly said. “If you go to a fleet and ask how much drivers are paid, it is by experience level, routes, etc., not gender-specific.”
Women who are considering entering a career as truck drivers have never enjoyed more industry support and leadership than right now. Organizations such as Women in Trucking and others offer guidance, advice, and insight into ways women drivers can maximize their earning potential.