Look around many transport companies and the sign on the door could easily read, ‘White Males Only’. This is unfortunate, but it is true. The level of inclusivity in the trucking industry is extremely low, and has been for a long time.
Of course, there are always plenty of shining examples that contradict this assertion, but just do a straw poll around people you know. The overall majority of the operators in this country are the same sex and colour, and often in a similar age bracket.
This is not the past. There are not truck drivers and diesel technicians walking out of the schools of Australia and into the trucking industry. Those days have gone. We are now in a world where the experienced operators are getting older. They are getting older, annually, by about one year.
These older workers, now in their fifties and sixties started working in a very different truck industry, and they will be choosing to retire very soon. Many of them will have the bad back, the arthritis, the dodgy knee to show for the 1970’s and 1980’s lack of attention to health and safety and a reliance on a ‘just getting the job done whatever it takes’ attitude.
Trucking isn’t the only industry that is populated in such a way, but it is one which is crying out for bright young operatives to come in and refresh the workforce and push it on into the future. There is a massive chunk of our population who are wanting to make their mark and get ahead, but who feel excluded from our industry.
We love the trucking game and get a great deal out of working in trucking. Things that have nothing to do with remuneration, it’s all about the social connections and the good fun, people with a common interest can enjoy.
The solution would appear to be difficult to find. If someone feels excluded, they are not going to keep coming back and knocking on the door until they don’t feel excluded, they will go elsewhere. We have to be seen to be embracing diversity, in a positive manner to create an environment that is all about inclusion.
The sort of environment in which people other than middle-aged white men can feel comfortable does exist, it doesn’t have feel uncomfortable for the white males already involved, there is a medium to be had.
The difficult thing is to find a happy medium. It’s still the trucking industry as we know it, but with the bits which foster exclusion reduced or removed. Do we want this? We have no choice. The freight tasks continues to grow at a fast rate and even with autonomous trucks and a rail freight expansion, there will still be more people needed to work in the industry.