Firstly, I wanted to wish you all the best for 2019!
And for my first article of the year, I’d like to talk about a topic that is important to me, a new objective that I’ve set: increasing the number of female drivers.
The photo says it all.
In yellow, me… behind me, a huge mining equipment. Next to me, in orange – the driver of this mastodon. This photo was taken in the Philippines in late 2018.
A few months ago, I was visiting Romania and we were talking about the training of drivers, in the context of the road safety program. The manager told me that his main problem was the number of drivers who, once trained, left to go to countries in Western Europe in search of better wages.
I then asked him about the percentage of female drivers – very surprised, he told me that there were none.
You’re probably wondering how that is related to our problem.
Hiring women drivers would make up for the loss in workforce. Moreover, hiring women today is possible and opportune for many reasons:
- Nowadays, driving a truck doesn’t require a Herculean strength. Drivers no longer need to be “big guys” (at least, not for our operations).
- Women have fewer fatal
accidents – according to the last report on accidents, published in January
2018 by the National Interministerial Observatory of Road Safety:
- 67% of license points withdrawn regarded men
- Men represent 75% of convicts for manslaughter
- 88% of drivers involved in a fatal alcohol-related crash are men
- And to answer the question of kilometers: there’s no reliable statistic on the proportion of female vs. male drivers but…: driving licenses were delivered to 49% of women. According to a study TNS Sofres issued in 2012, the annual mileage of female drivers (11 200km) is almost the same as that of men (12 500km). Other studies talk about 20 to 30% of km less.
- Women take better care of their equipment than men (it was confirmed by countries that have already launched the initiative and are starting to have statistical returns).
- Women are less likely to leave their families to move abroad, once trained, even if it would mean earning more.
- Some of our activities (quarrying, truck driving) are fixed-time jobs, without long-distance travels, which is ideal for people wishing to return home every night.
So the question that immediately comes to mind is: where to find female drivers?
Unfortunately, today, there are very little. In France, according to several sources, women only represent 3 to 5% of drivers of heavy goods (transport of goods only – they supposedly represent 20% of passenger transports).
What about prejudices? Is there any discrimination in the transportation industry?
Some people may think that there is some form of discrimination, but it seems that it’s not the case for truck drivers. The article excerpt below shows it:
“Prejudices, often unfounded, on female truck drivers: those who intend to become truck drivers are often afraid to find themselves facing a “macho” sector or some kind of discrimination during the hiring process. Yet, very few differences are found between men and women in the application of the profession. The sector is actually quite tolerant and allows for gender diversity” (link in French here)
Nevertheless, the percentage of female drivers remains very low… it’s a bit like the story of the chicken and the egg. If there’s no job at hand, women will not go through training – and if there are no trained women, companies are not going to hire women, and the number of women will stagnate.
What solutions can we implement?
To go back to the case of Romania, they are looking to secure a partnership with a driving school to form women, who would be promised to have a job after.
More generally, and for now, we’re focusing mainly on the missions with short travels, which allow women to return home at night. Indeed, this solution appears to be more suitable, given that in a lot of countries, places to rest on the road aren’t made to accommodate women. Thus, let’s prove that we can recruit women for short trips, and we’ll tackle the problem of long trips later – once our strategy will have proven successful.
During my trips, I often hear people complaining about the lack of truck drivers – which is a common problem on all continents. However, there’s one element missing from their analysis: female truck drivers!