Latinas and other non-white drivers fast-becoming the new faces of the trucking industry

Latinas and other non-white drivers fast-becoming the new faces of the trucking industry

The trucking industry has always been notoriously white and male. But according to findings in a report from Convoy, in 2020, a sharp shift toward more diversity was noted. Now, 64% of carriers report that they are at least 51% owned by a member of a diverse group—an increase of nearly 14% of non-white drivers in the last five years. 

But, for women, the jump to inclusion has been glacial, with just one group bucking the machismo system to embrace these coveted jobs with higher wages and flexible hours.

Latinas may only make up 6.6% of the truck drivers in the U.S. now, but as reported by NBC News, employment among Latinas is speeding past that of Hispanic men, and they’re jumping into these coveted trucking jobs in the hopes of joining the high-five-figure-and-up salary club. 

According to  Mónica García-Pérez, an economics professor at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, specializing in labor economics, although Latinas aren’t rushing into the seats of big rigs, they are filling jobs in warehouses and distribution centers, in fields that were traditionally dominated by men, such as packing and shipping.

“You can change your life and make great money at this job, and you are going to feel like you have a job with purpose,” Desiree Wood, the president of Real Women in Trucking, told NBC News. 

Despite the fact that Latinas are at the bottom of the earning scale, with median weekly earnings around $740 as of 2020, trucking may come with a sizeable increase in pay, but can also be a dangerous endeavor—costs of renting the truck from the company can add up, accidents on the road are an obvious risk, and women new to the industry can be partnered with male drivers, leaving them vulnerable to harassment or even rape. 

Although the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has been studying the impact of harassment and other potential assaults against women and underrepresented drivers, currently, FMCSA does not provide materials or training for these truckers on how to protect themselves and data is “insufficient,” “unreported,” or “underreported.” 

The turnover for truckers is astronomical, and the pay can vary. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics quotes the median pay for drivers at around $47,000 per year, but Ellen Voie, the president of Women in Trucking, tells NBC News that private fleets have lower turnover. Walmart, for example, claims to pay drivers about $87,000 per year on average. 

But it’s not just Latinas hoping to break down cultural and gender barriers. In California, nearly half of the 138,000 truckers are immigrants, mostly from Mexico or Central America—and Sikhs are one of the fastest-growing groups of drivers outside of them. 

Out of the roughly 500,000 Sikhs who live in the U.S. Sikhs comprise around 18% of the drivers in the industry, and in California, they make up 40%, according to Scroll.in.

From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.

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