left her job as an assistant manager of a gas station in Fort Bragg, N.C., to train as a truck driver, inspired by watching her uncle hit the road as a long-haul trucker when she was growing up.
“I thought it was really cool, like an extended camping trip,” she says.
Ms. Koon, 28, is part of a new wave of women breaking into trucking. The number of female truckers increased by 68% since 2010 to 234,234 in 2018, though women still account for just 6.6% of the trucking workforce, according to the American Trucking Associations, a trade group.
One big reason: equal pay.
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS
Do you know a woman who has recently taken a blue-collar job in a male-dominated profession? Why did they make the move? Join the conversation below.
“There are many different types of driver pay in the industry, including by the mile, per load, hourly, and even salary in some cases,” says ATA economist
“In all cases, there is no distinction between male or female. If you go to a fleet and ask how much drivers are paid, it is by experience level, routes, etc., not gender-specific.”
The median annual wage for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers is $43,680, according to the U.S. Labor Dept. Light truck and delivery-service drivers make a median of $32,810.
Ms. Koon’s new gig hauling for Cargo Transporters has tripled her salary, she says. “It’s a great lifestyle.”
The growth in women in the industry comes as demand for transportation workers is high, boosted by the expansion of e-commerce, says Frank Steemers, an economist at the Conference Board, a nonprofit research firm. Amid a tight labor market, employers are turning to new demographic groups to fill these positions, he says.