Understanding how to effectively recruit and retain women truck drivers could literally put an end to your company’s driver shortage.
Any company focusing the tone and approach of its recruiting efforts squarely on male truckers is losing-out on an opportunity that’s never been more valuable than it is today. For starters, the majority of all truck driving teams are already husband / wife—or some variation of a male / female partnership.
Secondly, as any honest husband can tell you, the wife is usually the one who handles the business end of a truck driving team. And any college football recruiter worth his salt can tell you: The best way to sign nearly any player is by starting with Mama. Cuz if Mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.
Clearly, a lot of people are already waking-up to that reality. California-based Desiree Wood, publisher of the REAL Women in Trucking blog, has (as of June, 2011) nearly 2400 Facebook fans and over 7800 Twitter followers.
In a recent post, Desiree addressed the first important lesson in recruiting women: Full disclosure.
Recruiting in a post-CSA2010 world
The federal government’s new safety program, has already eliminated countless low-scoring drivers from the employment pool. That means employment recruiters need to do their homework and find out what makes a female job candidate choose one carrier over another.
Huge growth potential
Women drivers currently comprise only 5% to 6% of the driving population. Unfortunately, few woman drivers are able to withstand the manner in which their training is conducted. And those who do realize quickly that recruiters often ignore the significant drawbacks for women.
Attention recruiters: GET REAL.
It’s one thing to recruit women drivers. But if you want to retain them, you have to be honest: Explain the hardships inherent in navigating 80,000 pounds of metal through congested traffic, the danger of sleeping in the cab at unpoliced truck stops, and the sheer inconvenience of not being able to shower every day. Downplaying those things increases driver turnover when the truth hits home.
That is not to say that Pretty Girls cannot drive a big rig. But trucking is still very much like the Wild West—which is why the unsupervised nature of the work presents personal safety issues that must not be glossed over.
So if you want to attract, and keep, women drivers, tell the truth. The whole truth. And nothing but the truth. Women drivers will respond to that. More importantly, they’ll respect you. And earning respect is the first step toward retaining those drivers.