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Research reveals women aged 20-29 achieve highest HGV pass rates

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.

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Pallet Track has analysed Large Goods Vehicle practical driving test pass rates published by the Department for Transport and Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency between 2010 and 2022 and found that women in the age range between 20 and 29 gained the highest Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) practical pass rate in Britain every in this period.

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 analysis shows.

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

Chart by Pallet Track

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.

Chart by Pallet Track

“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,” the research reads.

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).

Chief executive Caroline Green 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.

Ms Green stresses that the logistics industry needs to make some key changes 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.

She adds that education is another area where major improvements are needed if the sector wants 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.