Driving a truck is a tough job, requiring long unsociable hours, plenty of long-distance travel, time away from home, and interaction in a wide variety of situations.
Historically it has been an industry dominated by men. You will find the occasional woman trucker cruising down the motorway, but they are few and far between. The UK Haulage industry is the UK’s fifth largest employer but women only make up 1% of the workforce.
The UK is facing a shortage of truck drivers. This is due to a combination of Brexit, Coronavirus, an ageing workforce, low unemployment and difficulties attracting new drivers to the industry.
Lack of industry awareness
Few women and young people consider a career as a HGV driver; there are several reasons for this, including a lack of understanding of the industry, poor sector image, long, unsociable working hours and lack of quality driver facilities.
Few women are exposed to the industry when growing up, so as a possible career choice it is often not high on the list - if at all, unless a parent, usually a Dad already works in the industry.
Society has changed and continues to change, and as stereotypical male and female job roles diminish and become blurred, the perceived stigma of doing a man’s job should no longer present the same barriers as it did only a few years ago. Greater diversity can only be a good thing for an industry that needs more drivers.
A lack of dedicated facilities
One of the hardest things about being a woman driver, in a male dominated industry, is the lack of dedicated facilities, a lot of truck stops only have male driver facilities because they have not had any demand to provide facilities for female drivers.
Why truck driving?
Truck driving can pay well and can offer one of the highest paying jobs that does not require a degree. Training and driving qualifications are required but this should be viewed as acquiring necessary skills and expertise to deliver a safe, secure, conscientious driver.
Efficient logistics is vital
The manufacture, movement and supply of goods is essential to enable the UK economy to thrive. Ensuring an effective, efficient well-manned logistics industry to support this is vital. Greater diversity and more female drivers in the industry will be necessary to ensure this happens.