Female driver recruitment growing in the HGV sector

Female truck driver

The HGV sector is attracting more new female drivers than the passenger-carrying vehicle (PCV) – ie, bus and coach sector – both in terms of hard numbers and percentage increase over the last decade, according to data from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

According to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by training firm HGVC, there has been a 144% increase in the number of females securing Category C and/or C+E (HGV) licences over the past decade, compared with a 105% increase in the number of category D and D+E (PCV) licences.

In total, 27,200 category new C and C+E licences have been secured by female drivers between 2013 and 2023. 11,506 new category D and D+E licences were secured by female drivers over the same 10-year period.

The figures suggest that industry and government initiatives to tackle the driver shortage and broaden the pool of drivers within the HGV sector are having a positive impact. These include a range of measures to expand HGV driver testing capacity and improve licencing processes; attract drivers back to the sector and improve working conditions; and provide support and training for new HGV drivers.

This includes the launch of the HGV Skills Bootcamps, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, giving people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills. First launched in December 2021, the Department for Education (DfE) has now committed over £80m in funding to the programme.

HGVC said it has secured a record number of applications from women, ethnic minorities and younger people. Around than 7% of HGVC’s trainees have been women. This proportion is significantly more than the 1% of women who are HGV drivers in the UK.

In addition, around 25% of trainees have been Black, Asian, or from other ethnically diverse groups. Currently, just 4% of HGV drivers are from ethnically diverse backgrounds.

James Clifford, CEO of HGVC, said: “Both the HGV and PCV sectors need to train more drivers and attracting a more diverse pool of candidates is crucial to this strategy. These figures suggest the HGV sector is doing a better job at appealing to new female drivers… though there is still clearly some way to go.”