If you’re a truck driver, want to be a truck driver, or even just know a little about the current state of the industry, you no doubt have heard about the much-ballyhooed driver shortage. As a result, the face of the American truck driver has begun to evolve. Increasingly, the burly middle-aged man that has been the stereotypical view of the truck driver is giving way to younger people, including military veterans and women.
For veterans, the fit is often a natural one. Many military servicepeople spend time driving large transports and other military vehicles, while others build skills that could suit them well to the industry, such as discipline.
For many former military servicepeople, another key trait is a willingness to be away from home for extended periods of time. Military personnel are often stationed far from home for months and years at a time, and they are familiar with the coping strategies for getting around in a new environment. For many veterans, being away from home for a few weeks at a time would be a breeze by comparison.
On the other hand, women, who still only make up about five percent of total truck drivers, are more and more finding themselves looking to get into the trucking industry. As the attitudes of trucking employers continue to shift, the shipping industry is becoming a decidedly more female-friendly profession.
What’s more, trucking companies are specifically targeting women in recruiting efforts, and with groups like Women in Trucking, there are more resources than ever in support of bringing women into the field.
The Kenosha (Wis.) News recently featured an article about the increasing support women have in the trucking industry. For example, the logistics company Ryder Dedicated has worked with cab manufacturers to make trucks more adaptable and accessible for women, with adjustable seats and pedals designed with shorter drivers in mind.
Other companies, such as J.B. Hunt Transport Services, has outwardly recruited women in advertising materials. These outreach efforts show that companies like these are actively looking to recruit female drivers.
Veterans, on the other hand, have been actively recruited for some times. Many trucking company recruiting sites feature sections aimed at veterans. Some of them have programs specifically targeting veterans.
Whether it’s women, veterans, or another group, what is clear is that the trucking industry is shifting in an effort to adapt to the new needs of the industry. In making an effort to accommodate the needs of whomever has interest in entering the trucking profession, the industry is shifting to a new era, where adaptation is as important as compliance.