The trucking industry, which includes diesel technicians, is an historically male-dominated career field. In 2022, however, the diesel tech field is witnessing an uptick of diversity with more and more women stepping into diesel tech positions, as reported by Commercial Carrier Journal.
Women comprise 3.7% of diesel techs, according to data collected by the Women in Trucking Foundation.
And with such a low percentage in modernity, it may be hard to imagine that the past saw any number of women in the diesel tech field. But, Jim Mathis, who was enrolled in a technical college during the 70s, attests that he knew female diesel techs. Now, as the president of the technical college Wyotech based in Laramie, Wyoming, Mathis has seen a clear increase of female diesel techs.
“I think there are several reasons. One is good pay. The other reason, I think, is the technology of all this equipment,” he said. “It isn’t like you have to be extra strong. We have amazing computer systems and everything else, and women are definitely smarter and more articulate and can figure out these things better than most guys can. So, I think that has had a huge impact on exposing women to this wonderful field.”
Wyotech itself is experiencing the highest percentage of female student body members its ever seen, with an increase of 5 to 7% of female students this year. Mathis said that there is somewhere between 30 and 35 women enrolled across its automotive, collision refinishing and diesel programs. He anticipates at least 15 to 20 women to be apart of the 320 students enrolled in Wyotech’s next diesel program.
There is a high demand for diesel techs, however, this is combined with a shortage of diesel techs, especially those from younger generations. Mathis feels that to push back against this shortage, technical schools are breaking the habit of overlooking female diesel techs and instead expending time and energy into recruiting them. He anticipates a noticeable shift in the next four to five years as more women enter the field and encourage others to do so as well.