New research from Nottingham-based recruitment agency, Encore Personnel, has revealed the top truck stops for female HGV drivers – with Kent and Northampton regions leading the way for excellent rest facilities for women.
The haulage industry has traditionally been seen as a male-dominated career route, but in recent years it has attracted more women into the sector, due to the flexible hours, freedom, and independence of life on the road.
Encore, which has 11 branches across the Midlands, including one on Middle Pavement in Nottingham, and was recently acquired by Gi Group, has in fact this year announced it has sourced triple the amount of female recruits to the sector, demonstrating its commitment to overcoming, and knowledge of, the challenge.
In 2021-22, 9.7% of all HGV tests were passed by females, a 3 per cent increase since 2011-12. But the actual number of female to male HGV drivers currently working on UK roads still doesn’t come close, with figures from Logistics UK showing there are 315,000 registered truck drivers but only 2,200 are female and only 1 per cent are HGV drivers.
So, what is stopping more women from pursuing a career as a HGV driver?
Currently, the concern for specialist driving recruitment agency, Encore, is that there are not enough suitable truck stops and places to accommodate the rest-time needs of female HGV drivers who are stopping to take their mandated breaks or wait for loads.
Encore has taken matters into its own hands by analysing and reviewing truck stops in the UK that have the most facilities and security measures in place to help make its female drivers feel safe and secure while working.
The research was conducted by Jan Smith, Driver Resource Specialist at Encore, who said: “It’s important for everyone to feel safe at work and that includes those on the road.
“After months of research and endless calls with service stations and truck stops, we’ve narrowed down and found the locations that offer some of the best facilities in the UK for parking, restaurant options and cafés, repair and maintenance services. Plus, they have designated female amenities such as showers, toilets and changing rooms. Shockingly, in some cases we found that separate toilets weren’t even an option.
“We want to applaud the truck stops that are getting it right. Whether that be having an excellent number of facilities or strong safety initiatives for drivers, who, throughout the year, spend a lot of their time at these stop-offs, it is fantastic to see female drivers’ needs being acknowledged - which will hopefully help to diversify the workforce.
“What we at an Encore are now calling for is for all truck stops in the UK to meet this high standard, ensuring that all HGV drivers across the UK have access to these facilities wherever they are in the country.”
Encore investigated 240 truck stops in the UK, marking them out of 12 for their onsite facilities and 4 for their safety protocols.
From the data collected, the top truck stops in the UK, that all have designated female facilities as well as 10 out of 12 facilities and all 4 levels of security are:
- Kent - Ashford International Truck Stop, TN24 0FL
- Ellesmere Port - Formula International Truck Stop – M53 J9, CH65 4LB
- Northampton - Red Lion Truckstop – M1 J16 A4500, NN7 4DE
The facilities that the company concentrated on recording were whether the truck stops had toilets, washing and laundry facilities, shaving, showers, accommodation, a café, a shop, satellite TV, Wi-Fi, a filling station and repair services.
The award-winning recruitment agency also considered the levels of security each stop had and was marked out of 4 for having a night watchman, mobile patrol, CCTV and fencing around the perimeter.
These were followed by eight more truck stops that marked 10 out of 12 for their facilities and have 3 levels of security.
- Hertfordshire - Baldock Motorway Services (Extra) – A1(M) J10, SG7 5TR
- Beaconsfield - Beaconsfield Motorway Services (Extra) - M40 J2, HP9 2SE
- Blackburn - Blackburn with Darwen Services (Extra) - M65 J4, BB3 0DB
- Cambridge - Cambridge Motorway Services (Extra) - A14 J24, CB23 4WU
- Cobham - Cobham Motorway Services (Extra) M25 J9/J10, KT11 3DB
- Shepshed - Junction 23 Lorry Park - M1 J23, LE12 9BS
- Leeds - Leeds Skelton Lane Motorway Services (Extra) - M1 J45, LS9 0AS
- Peterborough - Peterborough Motorway Services (Extra) - A1(M) J17, PE7 3UQ
And 9 out of 12 facilities with four levels of security were:
- Chesterfield - Junction 29 Truck Stop – M1 J29, S42 5SA
- Cumbria - AWJ Penrith Truckstop - M6 J40, CA11 9EH
Encore, which employs more than 200 staff, hopes that naming the safest and most secure truck stops will be the start of a nationwide initiative to make more service stations and truck stops across the UK suitable for all drivers, including adding more designated female toilets and showers - a basic necessity for any female HGV driver.
Encore’s industry-leading driving division, which operates in six of its 11 branches in the UK, currently supports a network of HGV drivers to find their perfect work within logistics as well as clients in the industry to secure the best drivers.
Encore prides itself on its exceptional client and candidate service. It puts the customer and candidate/ employee experience at the centre of all strategy with dual value propositions of, ‘your business, your culture, our priority’, and, ‘your future, your wellbeing, our priority.’