Women in trucking: Canadian interest in the industry is growing, advocates say

Canada could soon see more and more women driving semi-trailers, if what’s happened to the US trucking industry over the past few years is any indication of what’s to come.

according to Bureau of Labor StatisticsSince mid-2020, thousands of women have entered the industry in the U.S., filling the void left by the pandemic and boosting the number of women in U.S. trucking to 1.6 million in October.

That’s almost 18 percent of the trucking workforce, an all-time high since the bureau started tracking those numbers in 1990. Most of these new hires are in driver roles.

After a sharp drop in the number of female drivers early in the pandemic, Canada has seen more modest gains, and the industry’s vacancy rate remains at 9.1 per cent, according to a November labor force survey by Statistics Canada.

Advocates say, however, that plans to diversify the Canadian industry could breathe new life into women and other underrepresented drivers in years to come.

what the numbers say

Newest labor market report Compiled by Trucking HR Canada, it analyzes job data through June 2021, including the number of women in all trucking industry jobs, as well as the number of women in driving positions.

At that time, when the share of all jobs in the US trucking industry was 16.5% (up from 15.6% in 2016), the share of all jobs in Canadian trucking was slightly over 15%, up from 2019-2021 The average of 14.1.

Craig Faucette, chief program officer at Trucking HR Canada, explained that the industry has experienced a contraction throughout 2020 and early 2021, disproportionately affecting women. So while the industry in Canada will add 6,400 women in 2021, this growth will mostly bring it back to pre-pandemic conditions.

“It doesn’t show a very sharp rise that the U.S. data shows,” Faucette said in a phone interview with CTVNews.ca Friday. number.”

Faucette said the company is currently analyzing new census data due in November, which should provide more clarity on employment numbers from mid-2021 onwards.

Shelley Walker, chief executive of the Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada (WTFC), noted that there has been some progress in the “slight increase” in the number of women entering the industry as professional drivers. Over the past two years, more women have also been interested in taking part in the training programme, she said.

“I’ve talked to a couple of truck training schools and they’ve seen an increase in women, anywhere from 3 percent to 12 percent,” she said in a phone interview with CTVNews.ca on Monday. “So training schools are a Great sign that we’re bringing in more women.”

The Future of Trucking

The industry has struggled to attract new workers in recent years, and groups including women, racialized people and members of the LGBTQ2S+ community remain underrepresented, Walker said.

“There is still room to grow and opportunities to explore in terms of getting more women into professional drivers,” she said.

Across Canada, organizations such as Walker’s and Faucette’s are working to fuel this growth through scholarships, mentoring programs and work placement programs tailored to women, youth and other disadvantaged groups. They are getting results.

In 2018, WTFC ​​launched an annual scholarship program that pays the full cost of a truck training course for up to three winners each year. Since the program’s inception, eight women from across the country have been awarded scholarships, Walker said. Of these, seven are still in the industry.

In 2021, the organization worked with Waterloo Wellington Dufferin’s Workforce Planning Committee to develop “go ahead,” Free 12-week AZ Truck License Training Program. Funded by the federal and provincial governments, the program prepares female, Aboriginal, LGBTQ+, non-binary, people of colour, low-skilled and low-income students for careers in the trucking industry. It has an 85 percent success rate, Walker said.

“Right now, we’re waiting for government funding at the federal level to do something like this again in four different locations, not just in Ontario,” she said.

WTFC is also trying to Cooperation With Ontario’s Young Women’s Initiative program, WTFC’s own annual Bridging the Barriers conference and a Facebook mentoring group called WTFC ​​Mentors/Mentees, which has 390 members.

For Walker, the industry’s survival depends on its ability to adapt to a changing world and welcome an increasingly younger and more diverse talent pool.

“Too many people right now are focusing on what they think is the hot seat: the empty seat in the truck,” she said. “And nobody has any idea of ​​the future. So if we don’t start going back into our school system, we don’t start teaching kids about our industry, the ongoing driver shortage is going to continue.”

Like Walker, Faucette has his eyes on future generations of truck drivers. He oversees two Trucking HR Canada programs – collectively known as the THRC Career Expressway – that inspire employers to work with young people. One program subsidizes companies that create internships for tertiary students, and another subsidizes companies that train and hire young people who face barriers to employment. Both launch in 2020.

Women make up 35 percent of all those who take part in both programs — much higher than the percentage of women working in the industry today — and the latter program has a success rate of more than 90 percent, meaning nearly all participants, Faucette said Find a job in the industry.

“We’re delighted when we see the numbers displayed this way,” he said.

Faucette said Trucking HR Canada plans to conduct a survey of women in the industry and women seeking employment in the industry to better understand how employers can help make it safer and fairer.

“What mechanisms do they need to feel supported?” he said. “Is there still the ability to grow?”

He did not specify when the investigation would start. Walker, who drove a truck before working full-time at WTFC, said in recent years she has seen a traditionally male-dominated industry begin to identify and address barriers to inclusion.

“I’m starting to see more and more companies genuinely interested in changing their company culture to be more inclusive of women and underrepresented groups,” she said. Truck stops and corporate buildings that previously only offered men’s restrooms now offer other options, and employers are thinking more about the needs of a workforce that isn’t exclusively white, middle-aged men, she said.

“So it’s breaking down those barriers,” she said, “and getting (employers) to start understanding these things.”

Source link

Leave a Comment