Sandy Long, an OTR trucker with over 30 years experience—and a prolific writer / columnist / blogger—wrote an interesting piece for Layover.com, in which she explains why she chose a trucking career in the first place. Here are the highlights:
Money is the most common reason for a woman to begin a trucking career. There are few other jobs where a woman can make the money found in trucking unless they have college degrees, and many older women do not.
Some older women come from white collar positions into trucking. One lady driver I know decided that she was done with skirts and suits and office politics. She put herself through school and found a company to hire her. She is quite happy now, living in jeans and shirts, and she proudly drives her truck safely and productively.
One woman worked it the other way. She started driving trucks when she got out of the military. Once she did that, she worked her schedule, took college courses, and eventually became a safety director after working her way up the corporate ladder.
Many women enter trucking because a family member was a trucker. Some were encouraged to become truckers, but most fathers, even the trucker ones, often tell their daughters to stay at home.
That last paragraph in particular really got me to thinking. I may be off base here, but I’m guessing that truckers who’d strongly encourage their daughters to stay home tend to be on the high end of the age demographic (60+). Conversely, I’ll bet you’d find a more open-minded attitude among younger drivers about their daughters taking-up a career behind the wheel.
Granted, as my good friend and client at Baggett Transportation, Claiborne Crommelin, pointed-out, the CDL minimum age of 21 put an end to children following their parents into the business directly after high school. But Sandy’s point about trucking being a lucrative career choice for young adults without college degrees remains valid.
So here’s my point: If you’re a recruiter, and you believe in trucking as a career choice—and you believe in your company as a great place to pursue that career—you should be perfectly comfortable encouraging your drivers’ sons and daughters to follow in their footsteps. After all, plenty of drivers serve as apprentice-mentors for other folks’ kids.
Sure, trucking’s a tough job, but plenty of drivers are still happy with their own career choice. You probably know which drivers are most satisfied with your company. Try starting with them—and if you experience some success, you can extend the program across the company to all drivers 45 and up.
FOR FURTHER READING:
Recruiting & Retaining Women Truck Drivers Starts With Honesty
Recruiting & Retaining Women Truckers Means Understanding Their Needs
Truck Driver Recruiting: Speaking To The Wives.