Whilst it is true that there is no such thing as a man’s job any more, there are still many careers which women feel put off from joining. One of these is HGV driving, but this is all set to change.
The recent shortage of HGV drivers has led to more women exploring the benefits of this amazing opportunity, and employers are realising what a boost it can be to have women on the team.
Here, FleetEx, specialists in ex-fleet trucks for sale, decided to take a look at the difference that hiring female HGV drivers can have, and what this can mean for the haulage industry as a whole.
The HGV Industry
It is currently estimated that around 1% of HGV divers in the haulage industry are female. This seems incredible given that there is a shortfall of as many as 100,000 drivers in the country which is leading to shortages and panic buying across a wide range of sectors, from supermarkets to fuel stations.
This shortfall, which has been blamed on Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic amongst other things, has led to a nationwide call for new drivers to come into the fold. The appeal has taken the form of sign-on incentives, government apprenticeships and calls for form drivers to return to their first love.
However, the one thing the HGV has not done in great swathes yet is appeal to the other half of society to fill the void, a sector of people who are equally skilled, hardworking and adaptable.
Until now, it has been assumed that many women have not moved into the industry as the hours are not seen as family friendly. However, times are changing, and this is now less of a factor.
As small numbers of women are now being drawn into the industry, they are being showcased as role models to allow other women to see how rewarding HGV driving can be as a career.
These women are a terrific gateway to filling up your workforce much more quickly. They will help to remove many of the stigmas that surround the job and show that it is a new environment to the one that has traditionally been portrayed. These drivers are being sent into schools to show young girls that this is also a viable career option worthy of their consideration.
It is believed that one result of the pandemic is that more women are likely to lose their jobs than men, with 17% of women being newly unemployed. Whilst no-one wants this to be the case, it does mean that there is a great recruitment opportunity opening up when it comes to the subject of female drivers.
The benefits of female drivers
Whilst it is often thought that women choose careers that offer routines that fit around family life, there are many women out there who are incredibly flexible. Those without family ties can be more inclined to change plans and take lengthy jobs which are often difficult to fill.
There are also many women who are used to juggling complicate lives who are now more adept at making changes and coming up with a new plan if they need to.
For those who are family focused, there are many drivers needed at night, and many women find this much easier to fit around their routines. Driving by night and parenting by day can be a good way to balance work and family life effectively.
With more women on the road than ever before, it is now much easier to find females who are passionate about driving and are more than happy to spend the majority of their day behind the wheel.
There are many women out there searching for a job which is not necessarily considered orthodox who find that the haulage industry offers exactly what they are looking for. With no two days ever being the same, this is the perfect role for someone with a sense of adventure or who is happy to take each day in their stride.
Hiring women has signalled a cultural shift for many businesses, and this has been widely welcomed. It has made it easier for firms to challenge and even do away with outdated stereotypes and find new ways of working and forging a team.
The background, ethnicity and gender of a driver is no longer an issue, it is now simply down to their ability to do the job, which can only ever be a good thing. They can help create a new way of thinking, and a number of female-based organisations have been set up to support women in the industry and the businesses that employ them.
This can create a new sense on innovation in your business, and can make it a more appealing place to work for other drivers already in the industry as well as those entering into it for the very first time.
Having women on board can also drive change in other ways. Whilst it has been generally accepted that safety and the lack of facilities is an issue for HGV drivers, it has largely been swept under the carpet.
With a raft of women now entering the industry, this can help to force the hand of change, from government levels all the way down to create a working environment that all drivers, regardless of gender, have been calling for over many years.
The greatest benefit of hiring women for any HGV employer is simply filling the massive void that the driver shortfall has created. This means that trucks can get back on the road, shelves are filled and the economy keeps on moving, which is of huge importance to everyone involved in the supply chain.
Women have been an untapped resource in the HGV industry for many years, but that tide is now turning. This move towards greater equality is better for drivers and businesses alike, and ensures a healthier future for a vital industry. By attracting more women into the industry, the wagons can keep on turning, ensuring the survival of haulage firms up and down the country.
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