The pandemic has affected everyone in terms of the jobs we do and the way we do them. It has also highlighted how important truckers are to our economy and our livelihood. The American Trucking Association states that prior to the pandemic, there was a shortage of approximately 60,000 drivers in 2019. As individuals have had to consider alternative employment opportunities, more women have been drawn to trucking.
In Canada, roughly 3% of truck drivers are women, and according to a Women in Trucking survey conducted in 2019, women made up more than 10% of truck drivers in the US which was an increase from 7.8% in 2018. However, when adding supporting roles such as technicians, managers and dispatchers, women made up about 43% of the workforce. Trucking isn’t an easy industry as it requires a great deal of training and experience to succeed, but it is a rewarding career.
Although trucking can be difficult at times and results in being away from home, women entering the industry are sharing their experiences on social media and trying to show that trucking is for everyone. Clarissa Rankin, a TikTok influencer and truck driver, says the biggest question she gets from other women is “How can I get started?”.
Many women in the industry talk about how it can be a challenging job but they lean on values of self-empowerment, resilience and confidence. These social media savvy female truck drivers are showing that you don’t need to look or act a certain way to be a good truck driver.
The Ontario Government recently announced a $600,000 skills training program to prepare 30 women and other individuals from underrepresented groups towards a career in the trucking industry. Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development said,
“Our government is taking deliberate steps to make sure anyone who wants to work can get the training they need to establish rewarding careers right now”.
Additionally, in Western Canada the YWCA offers the Changing Gears program which is a free training program to help women acquire their Class 1 license and have a hands-on experience to kick start their transportation careers.
The Trucking Federation of Canada’s (wtfc.ca) mission is “… to bridge barriers, empower women and provide a positive platform for education, mentorship, networking and development within the trucking and transportation industry.”
There is also Trucking HR Canada which has its Mentorship Programs for Women. This organization says “Increasing women’s participation in Canada’s trucking industry is a business issue. The trucking industry is rapidly changing. Its workforce is ageing. Fewer young workers are entering the industry. At the same time, there are increasing demands for truck drivers as industries relying on trucking continue to grow. This means there is an urgent need for the trucking industry to recruit, develop and retain employees to meet the needs of its customer and consumers, and continue its critical role in supporting Canada’s economic growth.”
There has never been a better time for women to enter the industry, so if you are or know a woman in the trucking industry, please share your experiences to help champion other women to join us and become part of the Northwest family.