Although the government provides numerous statistical resources, it is difficult to determine how many women work in the industry and how many actually own their own trucking or logistics companies. Our association is often contacted for data related to the number of women in the trucking industry.
The Department of Labor has an “employed by gender” chart that shows 1,319,000 women employed in “transportation and material moving occupations” in 2008. This is 15 percent of the 8,827,000 total for both genders. This does not narrow the segment into types of jobs within the category.
The U.S. Census Bureau data compiled through 2008 cites “drivers/sales workers and truck drivers” totals at 3,388,000 individuals. This document shows only 4.9 percent of the category is women, or approximately 166,000 female drivers.
It is more difficult to determine how many of these drivers or industry employees are company drivers, owner operators or trucking company owners. Typically, carriers have experienced a fifty-fifty split between solo females and women who drive in a team configuration. This would mean that there are about 83,000 solo female drivers in the United States.
Since there are not many sources for women owned trucking company statistics, I turned to Hoovers, an online resource for finding information related to a business’s Dunn and Bradstreet data. The records can be sorted by multiple criteria and even includes those certified as “women owned.”
In case you are interested in the number of trucking companies that exist worldwide, the Hoovers site revealed a total of 684,780 companies under “trucking.” Of those 15,423 are Canadian based and 139,343 are located in the United States. When the number is narrowed to include “headquarters” and “single location” to eliminate satellite facilities, the total drops to 14,272 carriers headquartered in Canada and 131,277 in the US.
The Hoovers database allows even more narrowing by simply clicking on check boxes, so the next step was to find out how many of the trucking companies are owned by women.
Worldwide, there are 9,056 women owned trucking companies, or slightly more than one percent of the total. A more surprising statistic comparing carriers around the world revealed that only 5,280 are minority owned and 5,225 are U.S. based. None of them are located in Canada. This would indicate that the term “minority owned’ is something specific to the United States.
Since our focus for this article is on women in the trucking industry, I explored the Hoover site further for data about female owned carriers. Of the 9,056 trucking companies certified as women owned, none of them were located in Canada. None. This would seem to indicate that even owner-operator teams are more likely to be primarily husband-wife pairs where the truck is listed in the husband’s name (remember, this is only an observation).
Of the 9,056 trucking companies certified as women owned, 8,913 are located in the United States. This is 98 percent! Despite our best efforts to encourage women to consider careers in the trucking industry, it would seem that the United States is way ahead of our neighbors to the north as well as the rest of the industrialized world! The Census Bureau’s five percent is looking better now!
Out of curiosity, I decided to narrow the search to determine the size of these women owned trucking companies in the United States. Of the 8,913, there were 1,331 with annual sales greater than one million dollars. Only 721 women owned carriers had sales over $2 million. There are 229 women owned trucking companies with annual sales that exceed $5 million each annually. Companies with more than $10 million in sales are certified as being owned by only 78 women.
Three trucking companies certified as being women owned had more than $35 million in annual sales. These companies include a trucking company located in Denver; a contract hauler headquartered in Green Bay, WI and a local trucking company in Robbinsville, NJ.
Women In Trucking Association’s mission includes the goal to increase the number of women who drive the trucks that deliver freight, but also those who maintain, dispatch, purchase, regulate, and insure them. In the future, we hope to see more carriers owned by women as well. For now, while five percent seems low, it’s a great starting point for increasing our ranks in the industry!