We blogged back in February about the drastic shortage of qualified HGV drivers in the UK, with the Haulage Association estimating a current shortfall of up to 60,000 drivers.
A recent survey carried out by the Freight Transport Association (FTA) showed a perception that the industry is dominated by older males, with the job involving long hours. Figures from the Transport Committee back up this perception – 92% of those holding an HGV licence are male, and more than 60% are over 45. This had led MP’s to urge companies to expand the diversity of their workforce and look to attract more female workers as well as those from other ethnic minorities.
So, with only 1% of the female population being HGV drivers, why aren’t women choosing this career?
For many there is the perception that HGV driving is a physically demanding job, requiring strength and being mechanically adept, traits many may traditionally link with men. The FTA are quick to note that due to recent technology advances such as automatic gears and steering, and the home from home comforts now available in cabs, modern HGV’s do not live up to this misconception.
The FTA do concede that the industry needs to do more to offer flexible working hours to encourage more women into the industry. Currently day shifts can be as long as 11-14 hours something which may prove difficult to tally with the demands of family life.
There has also been criticism of the facilities available roadside, lacking clean toilets and washing facilities, making life on the road less appealing.
The industry seems to acknowledge that attracting a more diverse set of employees is a necessary step it will need to take if it is to overcome its current resourcing issues so over the coming years we may expect to see a more balanced workforce.