Equality in the workplace has been an issue for as long as equality has been an issue. In other words, forever. The years since Martin Luther King gave his famous speech and Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus have trickled by, but race is just as important a topic today as it was at the beginning of the Civil Rights movement. 60 years ago, you’d be hard-pressed to find a Black truck driver. Today, diversity in the trucking industry looks a lot different. But in many ways, it has a long way to go.
Let’s face the facts: Most truck drivers are still white males
In a 2017 survey, it was estimated that upward of 90% of truck drivers are male. In an earlier study, researchers found that two-thirds of truck drivers are white. While those statistics don’t sound very promising, when the drivers are divided into age categories, change is evident. The latest generation of truckers, encompassing drivers under the age of 35, features considerably more Hispanic drivers, female drivers, and drivers with a high school diploma.
BYX, based near Los Angeles, California, has always been aware of diversity in the trucking industry. (Or lack thereof.) From the start, we have been dedicated to offering equal opportunities to all job applicants and employees. Still, we can’t control who applies. The majority of our amazing drivers are Hispanic, with some Black drivers and some white drivers. All are male. So what gives?
Diversity in the trucking industry is still limited by safety concerns.
While our location places a role in our company’s demographics, it may not be the only factor at play. Safety risks are a major deterrent for Black and female applicants. This is especially true in some regions of the United States.
Long haul truck drivers often sleep in their trucks. You can’t park a semi just anywhere. You have to go to a truck stop, and not every truck stop is safe for women. Not every truck stop is free from racism, either. While there are more Black drivers today than ever before, they still learn which stops to avoid to stay safe.
No truck driver should ever be afraid to stay at a rest stop because of their skin color or gender. Sadly, in 2021, it’s still a real problem. An ongoing commitment to improving the safety of more vulnerable drivers is key to bringing in a more diverse population of truck drivers.
Despite this unpleasant reality, the forecast for diversity in the trucking industry is positive.
As older generations — the ones that were primarily dominated by white, male drivers — retire, they make room for a new, more diverse generation of truck drivers. Diverse companies are significantly more likely to show above-average profit than those with fewer minority employees. More importantly, businesses with a diverse workforce can better serve a diverse customer base.
BYX firmly believes that inclusivity and equitable business practices are non-negotiable. It’s extremely disappointing to see that not all trucking companies across the United States feel this way. Still, little by little, diversity in the trucking industry is changing for the better.
Fleet owners can help by always offering jobs to the best possible candidate, regardless of race or gender- just like we do ay BYX! We look forward to seeing a future of trucking that is more diverse and welcoming. We’re happy to be a part of it.