Do driver retention issues differ for women and men?

The truck driver shortage means many trucking firms are doing everything they can to improve driver retention. By offering higher pay and providing better trips and greater benefits, trucking companies are getting more creative in handling driver retention.

But what do drivers want? And what about driver retention for women drivers? Do women drivers—a tiny portion of U.S. truck drivers—have different job and career goals than men?

After all, we’ve learned that women are from Venus and men are from Mars, right?

Key driver retention survey findings

According to the Stay Index–a survey-based index from Stay Metrics that surveys truck drivers’ satisfaction–men and women truck drivers agree and disagree on surprising and not-so-surprising parts of their jobs:

  • Pay matters for both genders.
    Stay Metrics found that sufficient pay was the top item for both men and women.
  • Women tend to value work/life balance.
    Three of the top six items on the Stay Index for women are related to work/life balance. (For men, however, there are no work/life balance items in the top six and just two in the top ten.)
  • Pay/Settlement is more likely to affect men’s commitment to their carrier employers.
    Pay/settlement issues represented four of the top five concerns for men, compared to two out of the top five concerns for women (and three out of the top ten). The two unique pay/settlement issues appearing for men relate to their opinions of pay fairness based on experience and comparisons to other carriers.

How can you find and keep women drivers?

If anyone has her finger on the pulse of women truck drivers, it’s Ellen Voie.

Voie is president, CEO, and founder of the Women in Trucking Association and has observed that safety is a much higher priority for women than men, as is finding a company with a collaborative, team-oriented culture.

Consider the following approaches to locate and you can improve driver retention for women drivers in your fleet:

  • Implement work/life balance programs.
    It’s a good idea to make sure holiday pay reflects an actual average day’s compensation, and you honor and track special home time requests. If you offer rewards programs, make sure they include items that families will appreciate and enjoy.
  • Customize your recruiting messages.
    Got a notion to increase the number of women drivers in your fleet? Emphasize work/life balance in your marketing and recruitment.
  • Keep an eye on time-in-industry stats.
    Women are often less experienced in the trucking industry. However, as they gain experience, they will likely want their pay/settlement to be fair compared to other carriers and vis-à-vis their experience—both of which may influence their commitment.
  • Consider women’s safety concerns.
    Ask yourself, How well is our equipment maintained? Where are we sending our drivers? Are we sending drivers into unsafe areas that might have tornados, protests, or other disruptions or dangers?

As you can see, paying attention to your audiences and their preferences and needs will be crucial to your ongoing success.

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