When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit the United States, millions of individuals lost their jobs. Specifically, many women were stuck at home coordinating elderly parent medical issues, additional home-school activities for their children, and more.
One year later, many great strides have been made to bring back jobs in a variety of industries traditionally filled by a predominantly male labor pool, but may now offer great opportunities to women.
Industries like trucking, transportation, automotive, and aerospace have traditionally offered careers filled predominantly by men. However, sectors that have traditionally offered a larger amount of jobs for women, such as hospitality, travel, and catering, have been hit hard by the pandemic.
It is time women consider industries like trucking and transportation to advance their careers, especially since these industries are vastly different from just a few years ago.
Currently, there remains a large shortage of drivers in the trucking industry, and women could help reduce this driver shortage. As a result, more companies are looking to hire women to fill these roles.
According to a 2019 report by the American Trucking Association (ATA), the industry was short roughly 60,000 drivers in 2018, nearly a 20% increase from the previous year estimate of just over 50,000. The ATA warns that if current trends hold, the shortage could swell to over 160,000 by 2028. Driver opportunities abound for women, in addition to a plethora of other career potentials.
New growth opportunities for gender-diversity
Gender-diverse opportunities are growing every day inside the corporations that operate within the trucking industry.
The transportation industry has shed its previous perception that the industry was filled with old men driving dirty trucks. The trucks are now state-of-the-art in many cases, and the companies that oversee a multitude of operations are brimming with careers in fields such as finance, asset management, procurement, legal, technology, data, and analytics.
Women in particular are playing a leading role in shaping the technology that is used to advance the current transportation industry.
Technology, finance, data analytics opportunities
At Fleet Advantage, I have played an integral part in the development of the company’s Life Cycle Cost Management (LCCM) Software within the company’s technology platform ATLAAS Unified (Advanced Truck Life Cycle Administrative Analytics Software). This module assists our customers in identifying and optimizing the ideal time for replacing their aging trucks with newer, more efficient units.
The opportunity to build a professional career leveraging my expertise in data and analytics was exactly what I hoped for, but I did not initially think I would find it in the transportation industry.
Forward-thinking companies in the industry see the value in this form of gender-diverse skillset, where my ongoing analysis reporting and statistical modeling helps the company provide specific analytic reports for our clients and bank partners. This allows us to examine cost metrics and to establish an optimal fleet modernization strategy.
I initially began my career within the consumer goods sector, but I quickly realized my skillsets were better suited for a B2B industry, such as transportation. In this industry, advanced business intelligence and data analytics are leveraged to assist large enterprise-level companies in making decisions to improve their bottom line.
A growing number of companies in the trucking and transportation industry recognize the unique skillsets that women offer. Organizations like Women In Trucking also have been instrumental in advocating for women to learn more about potential career opportunities in the trucking and transportation industries.
“The mission of Women In Trucking is simply to increase the ranks of women working in the industry,” said Ellen Voie, CAE, PDC for the Women in Trucking Association, Inc. “Companies who recognize the importance of gender diversity have proven to experience greater net returns, but more importantly, they make a focused effort to attract, retain and promote women.”
America’s economy needs the transportation system more than ever today. As more gender-diverse career opportunities appear inside transportation companies, these organizations will discover more potential for growth through the advancement and empowerment of a more gender-balanced workforce.
Jackie Jacobs is Senior Fleet Transaction Analyst and Project Manager for Fleet Advantage, a leading innovator in truck fleet business analytics, equipment financing and lifecycle cost management.