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How diverse is the trucking industry?

SustainabilityPublished on October 23, 2020

There is a growing trend among companies of all sizes to take a critical look at their social impact and devise strategies for working toward more equitable practices. Across all major industries, these companies are evaluating their employees, consumers, partners, and communities to try to build more diverse and inclusive environments. The trucking industry is well-positioned to play an integral part in this cultural shift, with one of the largest and increasingly diverse workforces in the country. With major companies setting standards for diversity in their supply chains, there is a need for the trucking industry to react quickly to capitalize its existing diversity and satisfy these needs.

Diversity in trucking

Based on the findings on our Sustainability Snapshot Report from earlier this year, the trucking industry has seen a shift towards broader demographic representation in recent years with 64% of carriers reporting that they are at least 51% owned by a member of a diverse group. According to a recent American Trucking Associations driver-shortage analysis, 40.4% of truck drivers were minorities in 2018, an increase of 13.8% from 26.6% five years earlier. This increase is driven by an expanding industry, driver shortages, and retirements. In the same report, however, 6.6% of drivers identify as female, an increase of only 2% from two decades earlier.

Business impact of diversity

In discussing the diversity of the freight industry, it is important to look at the impacts on profits and productivity as companies move toward a more diverse workforce. This 2018 study shows that ethnically and culturally diverse companies were 43% more likely to see above-average profits and “companies in the top 25th percentile for gender diversity on their executive teams were 15% more likely to experience above-average profits. The latest data shows that likelihood has grown to 21%.” As Meredith Wholley puts it, “Companies need diversity. It is beneficial to an organization to think with a wider breadth of perspectives, it portrays a positive image to the public eye, and gives them access to the potential revenue gains from employing people who can contribute different things to the companies they work for.”

How can large, medium, and small carriers better incorporate diversity? 

Incorporating diversity into the workplace starts with making sure all employees are respected and listened to. Creating a clear code of conduct, anti-harassment and bullying policies, anti-discrimination policies, and trainings on what these strategies aim to accomplish and why can help build a strong foundation of inclusivity for a diverse workforce. Going further, taking steps to ensure compensation is equal across all genders and races can go a long way in showing workers that your company is willing to put your money where your mouth is. You can also find examples of Diversity Handbooks for more ideas!

One way to capitalize on the growing trend of diversity in trucking if you are a diverse-owned trucking company is participating in a Supplier Diversity Program. Programs like this open up new opportunities for doing business with some of the biggest shippers in the country. Over 90% of Fortune 500 companies have supplier diversity programs and together, spend an average of $3 billion a year with qualifying suppliers. To learn more about Convoy’s Supplier Diversity Program, check out our website or email


Jennifer Wong

Jennifer is the Head of Sustainability at Convoy, helping transportation leaders make progress against their environmental and social impact goals.
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