Recruiting Minorities and Women in the Transportation Industry


Recruiting Minorities and Women in the Transportation Industry

When diversity and inclusion are a part of a company’s core values, it propels the company forward and helps the workforce, customers, and community thrive in a positive cycle that benefits all parties. The transportation industry has largely been dominated by men, but the current expectation is for companies to actively be more inclusive. This will lead to growth, generate long-term profits, and foster the ability to consider the most talented candidates. As the transportation industry continues to embrace women and minorities, continued active consideration and recruitment is needed to see these benefits come to fruition.

Are Women Underrepresented in the Transportation Industry?

Women in transportation have historically been underrepresented, especially in leadership positions. According to the Department of Labor, under 8% of truck drivers and sales workers in the U.S. are female. Of that, 6.7% of long-haul drivers in 2019 were women according to the American Trucking Association. The number of women in the workforce has consistently increased since the 1950’s, however, women in many instances remain marginalized. Particularly in non-traditional occupations including transportation.

In the Transportation Industry, Why has Recruiting Women and Minorities Become a Priority?

Veteran CDL drivers are retiring, exacerbating the trucking, logistics and distribution industry’s driver shortage. The lack of minorities and women in the transportation industry a few concerns such as:

  1. The Limited Talent Pool: Women and minorities comprise a smaller fraction of the transportation workforce, creating an unnecessary limitation of the talent pool. The need for drivers is high, and the available candidates are in short supply. As the United States continues to tackle the driver shortage and other supply chain issues increasing minority representation will help sustain the nation’s ability to move products.
  2. The Case for Building Diversity: Numerous studies, and particularly a 2017 Boston Consulting Group study, show that diverse and inclusive workplaces contribute to innovation and improve company performance.7 Companies benefit from actively hiring and recruiting candidates from diverse genders, ethnicities, and cultural backgrounds to realize these goals.

Teamwork in freight transportation industry

What is Being Done to Recruit More Women and Address the Lack of Diversity in the Transportation Industry?

To address the imbalance of women in the transportation industry, the recently passed infrastructure bill included a provision to study how to best recruit more female truck and trailer drivers. This provision is expected to create one- to two-million new registered apprenticeship positions and to strengthen the pipeline of opportunities for women, particularly in non-traditional roles. Tuition subsidies are also available in state-sponsored programs that help aspiring drivers fund commercial-trucking schools which can cost as much as $7,000 for a multi-week course.

To attract women to the transportation industry, companies are additionally taking a multi-faceted approach to fill the rising need for new truck drivers and other company personnel. They hope to attract a variety of demographics and ease the strain of time spent away from home with referral programs, safe working environments, husband-and-wife driving teams, flexible hours, and other perks.

Truck Drivers and Beyond: Recruiting Minorities to be Executives in the Transportation Industry

“The best workforce is a diverse workforce” – Ted Colbert, CIO, The Boeing Company

As more companies actively engage in practices that equalize the diversity of the work environment, it is just as important to hire minorities in executive positions in the transportation industry. By taking action to recruit minorities today, companies prepare for new hires to become seasoned transportation professionals that can take on leadership positions. The U.S. government also acknowledges businesses that are owned and operated by minority groups through the Minority Business Enterprise certification program. These certifications provide access to top corporate purchasing agents, premium networking events, searchable supplier databases, affordable consulting services, and more.

With diversity and inclusion as key values, transportation companies set themselves up for innovation, increased revenue, and a thriving network to raise up everyone. As diversity becomes less of an option and more of an expectation, the public is inspiring companies to change their mindset and commitment to consciously make day-to-day decisions that cultivate a culture that promotes diversity and increases the bottom line.

Penn Intermodal Leasing, LLC is a Certified Minority-Owned Business (EASTERN MINORITY SUPPLIER CERTIFICATE # PT233631) with over 30 years of experience in the industry. Contact us at 888-909-PENN to discuss how we can meet your chassis leasing needs and contribute to diversity goals.


  1. Attracting and Retaining Women in the Transportation Industry.” Transportation Research Board, Feb. 2019
  2. Avi-Yonah, Shera. “Women Are Entering a Trucking Industry That’s Not Built for Them.”, Bloomberg, 21 Aug. 2021
  3. Council, Forbes Coaches. “Council Post: Want Diversity? 15 Recruiting Tactics to Attract a Wider Range of Candidates.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 29 Aug. 2017.
  4. Cullen, David. “How Trucking Is Widening the Driver Pool.” Drivers – Trucking Info, Trucking Info, 13 Nov. 2019
  5. Diversity in Transportation: Why More Inclusive Businesses Perform Better?” Feedier Blog, 26 Aug. 2021.
  6. Fact Sheet: The American Jobs Plan.” The White House, The United States Government, 4 May 2021.
  7. Lyons, Sheryl. “Council Post: The Benefits of Creating a Diverse Workforce.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 10 Dec. 2021.
  8. Transportation Occupations.” Data USA.
  9. Voie, Ellen. “How Diversity and Infrastructure Are Intertwined.” TheHill, The Hill, 19 Sept. 2021.
April Uhlenburg
April U

April has been working with Penn Intermodal’s Sales and Operations teams to educate clients on the benefits of leasing chassis for bulk liquid storage and transport since 2012.