Women Driving Success in the Transportation Industry

Five women in an office standing with their arms around each other.

Do you keep seeing that same position open at a trucking company but you’re nervous about applying to a (seemingly) male-dominated field? 

Fear no more! 

There’s a common stereotype that women can’t excel in the transportation industry, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The trucking industry, long perceived as predominantly male-dominated, is undergoing a notable transformation. Women are progressively establishing themselves in various roles within transportation, challenging stereotypes and reshaping the industry's landscape. This paradigm shift highlights the equality and diverse opportunities available to both men and women in this field.

In this article, we’ll talk about women who’ve worked up the ranks here at Anderson Trucking Service (ATS), the jobs available to you in the transportation industry and the skills you’ll need to pave your path in trucking. As a trucking and logistics company, we’ll focus on this side of the transportation world.

Once you’re finished reading, you’ll be ready to apply for that job in trucking or transportation you’ve had your eye on. 

Men vs. Women in Transportation: More Equal Than We Think

When you think of trucking and logistics, what’s your first thought? 

If you’re like most people, you probably imagined an older bearded man behind the wheel of a big rig. Perhaps you imagined a young man with a headset sitting behind a computer with a serious look on his face. 

More likely than not, you didn’t imagine a female truck driver or a woman at the head of operations. 

Despite the historical dominance of men in trucking, the industry today exhibits a more balanced gender representation across administrative, managerial and driver roles. 

As of 2021, women accounted for 4.8 percent of truck drivers. Compared to a decade prior, that’s up by four percent. 

Women are taking on positions beyond driving trucks, contributing significantly to the sector's evolution. This transition signifies a more equitable and inclusive environment within transportation, proving that gender is not a limiting factor in career growth.

Within our company alone, 32 percent are women while 68 percent are men. Many of those women are in leadership positions throughout ATS.

Young female truck driver standing at the back of her semi-truck.

Women in Transportation: Success Stories

Numerous success stories underscore the achievements of women in transportation. These narratives showcase how women have excelled in various roles, starting from entry-level positions and climbing the corporate ladder through dedication and expertise. These success stories aren’t just about breaking barriers but they also inspire others to explore and flourish in the transportation industry.

Take Angela, a leader within our company. She’s been with the company for twenty years and, with strong communication, leadership and people skills, she worked her way up through the ranks and left a noticeable mark on ATS and the larger transportation world.

Angela started as a driver manager running a fleet of 40 drivers. She focused on building strong relationships inside and outside of ATS. Quickly, she was able to improve her driver retention rates and people took notice. 

Angela was offered the chance to create a new role in driver services, which bridged the gap for drivers between orientation and onboarding onto the fleet. The program was very successful and naturally led to more relationship-building for Angela, who was connecting with departments across the company.

As ATS grew, so did Angela’s career. She took on a supervisory and administrative support role to an operations manager. Soon after — after exceeding expectations — she was promoted to an operations manager role. She served in that role for 10 years before being promoted to director of operations for ATS’ vans division. 

Angela isn’t the only woman who’s joined the company at an entry-level role and worked her way to a leadership position. Combined with our strong core values and a leadership team who cares, growth and development plans are in place for each new employee who joins ATS.  

Examining specific case studies sheds light on women who have contributed significantly to the transportation sector. From spearheading innovative projects to fostering inclusivity within the workplace, women have transformed the industry's landscape, proving their capabilities and inspiring others to follow suit.

You can learn even more about women making waves within the transportation industry by checking out WTS International. This organization is dedicated to advancing women in transportation through equity and access. WTS does this by focusing on five main areas, including professional and workforce development, gender equity advocacy and legislative and regulatory priorities.  

If you’re looking for support within the transportation industry, this is a great place to start. Organizations such as these provide mentorship, networking opportunities and advocacy, empowering women to thrive in various facets of transportation.

Various Roles in Transportation

So often when people think of the trucking industry, they picture truck drivers. But there are a lot more roles within a trucking company — especially when it comes to the larger carriers that have several terminals/offices across the country. 

The transportation sector encompasses a multitude of roles that extend beyond driving. We’re a business like any other, so we need all the pieces to keep it moving. 

From logistics coordinators and safety officers to dispatchers and HR professionals, the industry offers a diverse range of career paths. There are also roles available for payroll staff, safety specialists, diesel mechanics, marketing professionals and beyond. 

Each role plays a critical part in ensuring the smooth functioning of the transportation business, demonstrating that the industry is far more multifaceted than commonly perceived.

Related: 8 Entry-Level Trucking Industry Jobs That Aren’t Truck Driving

Qualities That Ensure Success in Transportation

The transportation industry is an appealing industry to get into, as it doesn’t require a college degree for many of the positions. Instead, success in the transportation sector hinges on essential qualities such as adaptability, problem-solving skills, resilience and effective communication.

These attributes are vital for navigating the dynamic and fast-paced nature of the industry. Trucking can certainly feel intimidating — especially if you feel like you need to work on these skills — but it’s just like any other company when it comes to learning the ins and outs of the industry. You have to be willing to jump in and learn.

Being in trucking requires you to work with different types of people across different walks of life. If you’re in a driver-facing role, there’s a chance you might be the only person they’ve spoken to that day. You should be a people person with strong communication skills. 

You’re also working on solving problems in real time but from afar. You’ll not only need to be able to build trust in your drivers, but you’ll also need to be quick on your feet and able to adapt at a moment’s notice. Having a thick skin and not taking things personally can also help. 

Regardless of gender, individuals possessing these qualities find ample opportunities for growth and success in transportation-related roles.

Learn more about skills that transfer well to the transportation industry

Four women in a factory setting smiling.

Take Your Place in the Trucking Industry 

The trucking industry's evolution from a male-dominated space to a more inclusive environment is evident through the rising participation and success of women. The industry's multifaceted nature offers opportunities for all individuals, irrespective of gender, to contribute, grow and drive success in transportation.

You can enjoy many roles within the trucking industry, whether you want to be a truck driver yourself, you want to work directly with drivers or you’d like to lend your skills to the HR department or marketing team.

With the ability to adapt and communicate effectively in a fast-paced industry, you have a place in the trucking industry. Learn more about the pros and cons of working in the transportation industry

At ATS, we prioritize growth and development among all of our employees. We foster a teaching culture and give employees the resources they need to learn and succeed in their roles and the industry as a whole. 

Curious about which positions we have open? Check out our openings today!

Tags: Career Resources

Jaci Olson

Written by Jaci Olson

With more than 25 years of progressive experience in human resources (HR), Jaci has served in multiple roles across various industries — including manufacturing, litigation law firm and transportation. With ATS since 2015, Jaci is the employee relations manager, where she serves as a proactive, internal HR consultant/advisor to managers and employees on employee relations issues, engagement strategies and leveraging of talent management systems to support strategy and achieve goals. She also leads cross-functional teams in the development of manager and training programs and oversees the successful application of this training within ATS.

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