When most people think about lorry drivers they think: large bearded man living off of Yorkie bars and truck-stop burgers. But that’s no longer the case; these days anybody can drive a lorry and the number of women in the industry is growing rapidly.
Regardless of your strength and size, driving a lorry now requires more brains than brawn. With the aid of technology driving a truck now requires very little physical exertion compared to years ago. These days there are automatic gearboxes, power steering and electronic coupling mechanisms. All this means that the only element men and women compete on is their ability to actually drive the vehicle.
In 2013 women made up for 0.5% of all HGV drivers, now they are estimated to make up for 2%. Whilst this is still a small percentage of the workforce, that’s still a 4x increase! More women than ever are looking at HGV driving as a viable career option. The haulage industry is becoming increasingly open to female drivers, shunning the traditional male dominated industry stereotypes. There are still some businesses that are slow to recognise the changing demographic, but most have implemented policies aimed at welcoming women into the workforce.
With a serious national shortage in HGV drivers, recruiting female drivers could be the answer. It is estimated that the average age of the current HGV drivers is 57, 10% of which are due to retire within the next 10 years. All this means that the current shortage, reported to be 45,000 is only set to get worse. Many recruiters are finding that it is becoming increasingly tough to recruit new male drivers to the industry, but if there is a pool of ‘untapped’ women which would like to be lorry drivers then it could help ease the situation.
We at ADR Network completely support more female HGV drivers in the industry. We look at our applicants based purely on their skills and experience, hiring the best person for the job regardless of their sex. There is no reason why women should not be HGV Drivers.
In 2013 The Guardian ran a story about Katie Gillard, the 21-year-old truck driver who obtained her licence at aged 18. She has become a role model for the industry, showing women everywhere that it is possible to survive and thrive in a male dominated industry. Like many women venturing into this career, she has had to put up with a lot. In the article she recalls situations where she was constantly treated like she doesn’t know what she’s doing. This is a regular problem that many women are likely to face, but as more and more women join the industry these situations will become less.
Training as a HGV driver is open to anyone who wants to get a licence, regardless of gender. As long as they are over 18 and hold a full UK driving licence they can start training. Our sister company, LGV Training Network (LINK), will happily help you with any questions you might have. They have centres all over the UK and their instructors will help you through all the theory and practical tests you need to pass in order to get your license.