I reflected on a recent trucking seminar I attended with a guest speaker talking about the future. He stressed that history and demographics show changing trends for entrepreneurs to consider in the future, and as some of you remember, he stopped about 10 minutes into his presentation, looked around the room, and lamented ”this is the most middle-aged white male crowd I have ever spoken too.” Many participants and I looked around the room and came up with the same observation. How do we challenge ourselves and our industry to diversify our leadership teams at all levels?
It seems to me that the industry is becoming more diverse with our driving professionals, however, I believe that we can make the profession more appealing to women. Upon the latest review, less than 9% of the drivers are female. How can our industry increase that percentage? I really do not see the diversity in the driver manager ranks. Is there a lack of supply of folks interested in these positions, or do we have some built-in habits inside our culture that are restricting the availability of opportunities for non-white males thinking of trucking as a career? Then, as the speaker revealed, the ranks of our industry leaders have very few diverse members.
I wonder what we can do proactively to aid the view of this industry as open and diverse? I do not think mandating these things is the way to go; I think the industry should take steps to recruit applicants from diverse backgrounds, and align the industry with minority-serving institutions – colleges and universities – to collaborate on trucking/logistics curriculums, with core intern programs and scholarships. I’m not sure what the answers are, but this industry has been great to me. I didn’t know anything about trucking when I entered into this business, but I love it now, so let’s show them what we’ve got!