As noted elsewhere (see “Overdrive”), the combination of a serious trucker shortage and an overwhelmingly male workforce is leading U.S. transportation companies to get serious about recruiting women. This idea is also being talked about across the Atlantic, where things are pretty much like they are here, only worse.
According to the United Kingdom’s Freight Transport Authority, a chronic driver shortage may suddenly become a crisis when Brexit, the UK’s still not very clearly defined separation from the European Union, takes effect. An estimated 11 percent of the UK’s HGV (heavy goods vehicle, British for “semi”) drivers are European nationals who may or may not be allowed to work in Britain after October 1. Meanwhile, only around 2,200 of the 315,000 registered truck drivers in the UK are female—a bit less than 1 percent.
Across the Channel, the International Road Transport Union (IRU) says the European road transport sector is facing its most severe shortage of professional drivers in decades; IRU projects that the industry will have 40 percent fewer drivers than it needs by the end of 2019. (With even more severe local shortages; Romania is expecting a 70 percent shortfall.) Continent-wide, women make up around 2 percent of long-haul truck drivers. The IRU’s managing director has called for a global effort to improve the reputation of the driver profession and fight against stereotypes.
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