Could more female lorry drivers solve the problem of falling driver numbers?

1st Nov
Female Lorry drivers

Many studies have suggested that there is a shortage of around 50,000 lorry drivers in the UK. Other data indicates that around three quarters of drivers are aged 45 or over, suggesting that the problem will only get worse as the existing workforce reaches retirement age. The number of applications for HGV licences has fallen by as much as 45% over five years, and the trade body The Freight Transport Association says that the recruitment problem is the biggest issue it faces.

Some people have suggested that one way of addressing the problem is to encourage more women to become drivers. In the UK, only 1.2% of HGV drivers are women. In the US, the figure is 5.8%, hardly an enormous figure, but it is still several times higher than the figure for the UK.

In a 2015 BBC interview, 28-year-old Natalie Tipton acknowledged some of the issues she faced when working as a driver.

Whilst acknowledging that female drivers “have to be quite thick-skinned”, and to handle a “male-orientated environment” where “there is quite a lot of banter,” she also spoke of the advantages of having a job of this nature.

Natalie added:

“[My lorry is] basically my workspace. I’m in control.”

The manual labour element of HGV driving has reduced significantly over the years, and the advent of automatic gears and hi-tech suspension has made handling large vehicles considerably easier – all things that will hopefully encourage more women to become drivers.

In another BBC article from 2016, 53-year-old driver Annette Stagg said women “don’t need to be Superman”, saying that “if you have a puncture you pull over, call the depot and a specialist team come out to change the tyre.”

Annette also made reference to the improved security arrangements now in place, something that may have put off lone women from taking to the road. On this subject, she said:

“The lorry cabs are all high-spec and quite secure. Once you’re locked inside at night, then the only way in would be through smashing a window. And there’s a phone in the cab with a direct line to the police. So, I feel quite safe sleeping in one.”

Some of our latest positions

A&S Recruitment specialises in assisting candidates to secure positions in the transport, warehousing, commercial and shipping sectors. We connect applicants to jobs in Ipswich, Felixstowe and surrounding areas. With superior industry experience and a reputation for unwavering excellence, we’re confident we can find the right people for the right job, and vice versa.

View all vacancies

General Enquiry

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.