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Trucking Industry Beckons Women Seeking New Careers

| November 18, 2020

The COVID pandemic has caused widespread unemployment—especially female unemployment. ATS’s John Kearney urges women to consider commercial truck driving, a profession short on workers and long on opportunity

A full 25% of recently surveyed U.S. adults said they or someone in their household had been laid off or lost a job due to the coronavirus outbreak.(1) While the unemployment rate dropped to 6.9% in October from April’s record high of 15%(2), John Kearney, CEO of Advanced Training Systems, notes that much of the drop was driven not by economic growth but by hundreds of thousands of people leaving the job market—the majority of them female. Of the 1.1 million Americans age 20 or over who left the work force between August and September, over 800,000 were women.(3) “Meanwhile,” says Kearney, “the motor freight industry is suffering from an acute driver shortage. Trucking companies are eager to hire a larger percentage of women drivers, and in many cases are willing to pay for the training they need to get started.”

One reason for the disproportionately high unemployment among women, Kearney notes, is the devastating effect of the COVID pandemic on traditionally female occupations. In March and April, hospitals began furloughing nurses and medical assistants chiefly used for routine or optional procedures. Daycare centers laid off over 250,000 workers. By April, 72% of housekeepers reported being abandoned by their clients. Restaurants laid off their servers, 70% of whom are women.(4)

For these now unemployed or underemployed women, says Kearney, as well as for workers of both sexes seeking stable employment and possibly higher pay, the current U.S. truck driver shortage represents a major opportunity. According to figures from the American Trucking Associations, the industry is short approximately 60,000 drivers. Kearney, whose company is a leading designer and manufacturer of virtual simulators for driver training, among other applications, notes that to rebuild its ranks, the industry needs to recruit more women, who currently make up only about 7% of professional drivers.(5)

Category: Driver Stuff, Featured, General Update, News, People, Training

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