Caroline Green stands next to Pallet-Track HGV

Research reveals young women are driving ahead in HGV tests

New research has revealed that young women are in pole position when it comes to passing HGV tests, with female drivers aged 20-29- gaining the highest pass rates.

Our analysis of Department for Transport (DfT) data shows that women in this age category gained the highest Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) practical pass rate in Britain every year between 2010 and 2022.

While women make up only a small proportion of HGV drivers, 67.9 per cent of 20-29-year-olds successfully passed their practical test in 2021-2022, compared to 63 per cent of men in the same age category.

The overall pass rate for all drivers taking a practical HGV test in 2021-2022 was 58.7 per cent.

Bar graph showing HGV test pass rates by gender and age group

In total, women made up just 9.1 per cent of those taking tests in 2021-2022, while the DfT’s Domestic Road Freight Statistics 2020 report notes the gender split of HGV drivers currently in work as 99 per cent male and one per cent female – a figure that has not changed since its first inclusion in the annual report in 2016.

Pie chart shows nine point one percent of HGV tests were taken by women in 2021-2022

With young women accelerating ahead of men in HGV tests, addressing this gender imbalance could be the answer to reducing Britain’s HGV driver shortage.

In fact, if as many women as men across all age groups had taken an HGV test in 2021-2022, there would now be up to 48,931 extra drivers on the road based on the overall female pass rate of 62.4 per cent.

This would almost erase Britain’s current shortfall of drivers, which stands at 50,000 drivers according to calculations by the Road Haulage Association (RHA).

HGV test pass rates by year, gender and age category

 

A long-term solution to the HGV driver shortage

Our research shows that attracting more women to careers in the logistics industry could transform the workforce and provide a long-term solution to Britain’s HGV driver shortage.

The shortage itself has increased rapidly in recent years due to Brexit, but it has been a growing concern in the sector for some time due to its ageing workforce.

Logistics UK research discovered that 47 per cent of HGV drivers in Britain are aged over 50, while only one per cent of HGV drivers in the UK are aged under 25.

In fact, a report from the RHA predicts that the rate of unfilled HGV driver positions will triple by 2026 due to the growing gap between retiring and new drivers.

The evidence shows that the industry needs to diversify in order to build a robust workforce of drivers and to reduce the risk of future HGV driver shortages.

 

Inspiring the next generation

Caroline Green, chief executive, said: “Our research should be a real eye opener for the industry as it demonstrates the value of diversifying the logistics workforce.

“The results of the analysis show that Britain has the talent and skills to overcome any remaining driver shortages and the resources to future proof our workforce.

“However, there are some key changes the logistics industry needs to make if it wants to attract more women into driving roles, starting with driver facilities and bathroom access.

“The majority of truck stop facilities are woefully inadequate and require major improvements; we welcome the government’s recently announced match funding initiative and hope that this will be a positive step forward for the industry.

“Education is another area where major improvements are needed if we are to inspire younger generations to enter the profession, particularly young women.

“Logistics plays a major role in all our lives and is the fifth largest employer in the UK, but we need to engage with schools more to demonstrate the breadth of careers that the industry can offer.

“Being an HGV driver offers a range of perks, such as flexible hours and independent working, and great opportunities for progression, it’s time we started showing young people how rewarding a career in logistics can be.”

To find out more about logistics careers with Pallet-Track, view our current vacancies or learn more about our pallet delivery services.

 

Methodology

Data analysis is based on Large Goods Vehicle practical driving test pass rates published by the Department for Transport and Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency between 2010 and 2022.

The data covers LGV driving tests taken by male and female applicants in six age brackets, from under 20 to 60-plus.

Data relates to total practical tests taken by all genders and age groups, rather than the number of tests taken by individuals, and may include retakes or multiple tests.

The terms LGV and HGV are used interchangeably in this analysis, as under UK and European law, an LGV licence and HGV licence are the same licence, covering all commercial vehicles with a gross combination mass of over 3500kg.